The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 23, 2013

Alabama doctor sentenced to prison in fraud case

— FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama physician will spend a year and a day in federal prison after prosecutors say she bilked nearly $1 million from Medicare and BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama.

Authorities say the health care fraud case involved non-reimbursable cosmetic skin treatments.

The doctor, 55-year-old Diana McCutcheon of Killen, had been charged with health care fraud and wire fraud. She was sentenced to the prison term on Monday, The TimesDaily reported (http://bit.ly/128nJyh ).

U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson also ordered McCutcheon to pay restitution of $990,389 to BlueCross BlueShield and Medicare. She also must pay the same amount to the government.

"She was hoping for more consideration from the judge in terms of our request for probation," said Huntsville attorney Robert Tuten, who represents McCutcheon. "We were hopeful for probation, but we knew it was a long shot given the amount of loss."

She pleaded guilty to the charges in November.

"This defendant carried on a scheme for several years, fraudulently billing private and public insurance plans for payments she was not entitled to," U.S, Attorney Joyce Vance said in a statement. "That kind of fraud drives up health care and insurance costs for everyone."

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