Eric Jacobson pleads guilty to illegally prescribing painkillers

Dr. Eric Jacobson comments as DEA agents raid Dr. Eric Jacobson comments as DEA agents raid his office in Great Neck on Dec. 1, 2012. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

advertisement | advertise on newsday

A Great Neck doctor, charged with illegally supplying painkillers to convicted Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer, his wife and scores of others, admitted Monday to unlawfully prescribing oxycodone to 19 patients.

Eric Jacobson, 51, of Huntington, pleaded guilty in federal District Court in Central Islip to 19 counts of illegal distribution of the narcotic painkiller.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Jacobson will serve seven to nine years in prison, forfeit $250,000 to the government, and serve three years of supervised release. The government originally seized $750,000 from Jacobsen but will return $500,000.

Jacobson had been charged with 262 counts of violating laws relating to the distribution of the painkillers. Each count theoretically carried a sentence of up to 20 years.

None of the charges he admitted to involved Laffer or his wife, Melinda Brady, who was also convicted in connection with the robbery of the pharmacy on Father's Day in June 2011.

The charges all involved prescriptions Jacobson wrote to individual but unidentified patients in December 2011, after a raid on his office at 277 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, by federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service agents. At the time of the raid, Jacobson gave up his DEA registration enabling him to prescribe narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"On December 1st, 2011, I signed a voluntary surrender of my DEA registration," Jacobson told U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco, reading from a statement. "After I signed that I wrote 19 prescriptions . . . on that day or the following day without a valid registration."

Jacobson said he wrote them because thought he'd get his registration back.

Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, in a statement, said: "Instead of providing needed medical services to his community, Dr. Jacobson directly contributed to the tragedy of prescription drug abuse that has swept across our district and our nation." Lynch said Jacobson also had surrendered his medical license.

After the plea, Jacobson's attorney, Bruce Barket, of Garden City, said: "We're appreciative of the U.S. attorney's office negotiating in good faith and working out what we think is a tough, but fair resolution."

Federal prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz said in court that if the case went to trial she was prepared to put on the witness stand all 19 patients who received one of the oxycodone prescriptions. She also has said that she had planned to use testimony by Laffer and Brady against Jacobson at trial later this month.

You also may be interested in: