Cummings changes plea to guilty in painkiller case

Posted March 29, 2019 at 1:05 pm

A well-known Clinton County physician who was indicted in federal court in 2017, has entered into a plea agreement and has changed his original plea to most of the counts against him to guilty.

Dr. Michael L Cummings, 63, entered a guilty plead on Tuesday, March 18, 2019, to 13 counts of prescribing controlled substances without any legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional medical practice.

The plea agreement was announced last week in a press release issued to the Clinton County News from the United States Department of Justice Western Kentucky District.

The original indictment was reported by the Clinton County News in an article that appeared in the April 20, 2017 issue.

According to that press release, the agreement states that during a period between May, 2012 and April, 2015, Cummings prescribed Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV controlled substances to patients “without any legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional medical practice.”

Among the controlled substances specifically named in the agreement were Oxycodone, OxyContin, hydrocodone, Valium, Endocet, alprazolam and diazepam.

In May, 2015, authorities executed a search warrant at the location of Cummings’ practice located in the Twin Lakes Medical Arts facility.

At that time, Stephanie Collins, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office/Western District Kentucky, confirmed to the Clinton County News that at least two law enforcement agencies were involved in the search warrant.

“I can confirm that a search warrant was executed at the Twin Lakes Medical Center last week and that the two investigative agencies are the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) and KSP (Kentucky State Police),” Collins said in an email statement in early May, 2015.

Originally charged in the 2017 indictment with the death of three patients, the counts involving those deaths were among the counts that were dropped by the federal prosecutors for the plea agreement.

The plea agreement was announced by First Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Bennett and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Weiser and Ann Marie Blaylock.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Kentucky State Police.

The charges Cummings pleaded guilty to carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 145 years, a combined maximum fine of $7.25 million, and three years of supervised release.

The plea agreement, a nine page document filed in the District Court in Bowling Green, notes that at the time of sentencing, the United States will recommend a sentence at the lowest end of the applicable Guideline Range.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2019, before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg N. Stivers.