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Surgery Clinic Owner Pleads Guilty to Fraud

May 25, 1999

LOS ANGELES — The physician owner of a Westside cosmetic surgery clinic pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to bilking insurance companies by disguising elective procedures, such as rhinoplasty and liposuction, and as medically necessary operations.

Dr. Ronald W. Strahan, owner of the West Olympic Surgery Center, will be sentenced Sept. 13 by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson on four counts of mail fraud.

If the judge accepts a plea agreement negotiated with prosecutors, Strahan could be sentenced to 18 to 24 months in prison.

Strahan, 61, of Brentwood, admitted counseling patients to fabricate accidents or medical conditions so that he could bill their insurance companies for cosmetic procedures not covered by their policies.

In performing rhinoplasty, he would insert foreign objects into an anesthetized patient's nose and photograph the supposed deformities in order to trick insurance companies, according to the plea agreement. Strahan's medical license could be suspended or revoked by the state Medical Board. He is an ear, nose and throat specialist.

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