Doctor tied to David Laffer to plead guilty to illegally distributing painkillers
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The Great Neck doctor charged with illegally supplying powerful painkillers to scores of patients, including Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer and his wife, will plead guilty Monday to 19 counts, authorities said.
Under the terms of a plea agreement reached Thursday in federal court, Eric Jacobson will face 7 to 9 years in prison.
Prosecutors announced earlier that they planned to use testimony by Laffer and his wife, Melinda Brady, against Jacobson -- one of the largest prescribers of oxycodone in New York State -- if the case went to trial later this month.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco said Thursday he will accept the pleas on Monday, after the defense and prosecution work out how much of the $750,000 the government has seized from Jacobson will be forfeited.
Jacobson, 51, was present in the courtroom in Central Islip but did not speak.
The charges Jacobson will admit to involve writing prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone after he agreed to give up his rights to prescribe them following a December 2011 raid on his office by federal agents.
None of the 19 counts involve Laffer or Brady.
"We are obviously pleased," defense attorney Bruce Barket of Garden City said after the hearing.
Barket said he was prepared to argue that his client wasn't guilty of the other charges, maintaining that those prescriptions were medically necessary.
Authorities accused Jacobson of prescribing large amounts of the highly addictive pills for cash without properly examining patients.
He faced 20 years in prison and possibly more if convicted at trial, but Eastern District prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz said in court that he has accepted responsibility, has no criminal record and was not accused of giving prescription narcotics to minors.
Gatz said each of the 19 counts has to do with individual patients the prosecutor did not identify.
Under recent memorandums from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jacobson met the criteria for the government to agree to a less severe sentence, the prosecutor said.
Jacobson, held without bail since his arrest in June 2012, was indicted on 262 counts of illegally dispensing oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Eight counts accused the doctor of illegally prescribing painkillers for Laffer several days before the June 2011 Medford robbery-slayings; 11 other counts involved prescriptions for Brady.
Jacobson had admitted to federal agents that he left prescriptions for Brady under the doormat of his Huntington home in return for her leaving cash, according to testimony at a pretrial hearing.
Federal authorities have said Jacobson issued prescriptions for more than 2 million oxycodone pills between August 2010 and December 2011.
He was one of five doctors arrested by federal agents on Long Island after the Medford pharmacy murders, escalating an already ongoing investigation into the illegal distribution of painkillers.
One of those doctors, Frank Telang, of Port Jefferson Station, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Two have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing: William Conway, of Baldwin, and Leonard Stambler, of Baldwin Harbor; and one, Gracia Mayard, of Cambria Heights and Forest Hills, is awaiting trial.