A longtime assistant to a Baldwin doctor who is serving 8 years for illegally distributing oxycodone was sentenced Wednesday to 5 years' probation for his role in the doctor's drug operation.

Robert Hachemeister, 70, of Baldwin, was a retired sanitation worker who worked for 20 years at the front desk of the office of Dr. William Conway. He handed out prescriptions so often, sources said, that some patients called him "Dr. Bob."

Before he was sentenced, Hachemeister told U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler at the federal court in Central Islip, "I am sorry. I had always done the right thing in my life . . . Please have mercy on me."

Both Conway and Hachemeister were convicted of conspiracy to illegally distribute the narcotic, and Hachemeister faced up to 57 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

In giving Hachemeister the lenient sentence, U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler said, "I won't make a hero of him . . . He knew what was going on, but he continued with him."

But Wexler imposed the sentence after Eastern District federal prosecutor Michael Canty noted that Hachemeister had cooperated extensively with the government.

And Hachemeister's defense attorney, Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge, said that other than his involvement with Conway, his client's "past was nothing but stellar," including service in the Army in Vietnam, and longtime activity in his local fire department and church.

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La Pinta also noted that federal prosecutors had said that Hachemeister's cooperation was "critical" in building the case against Conway, giving them "vital information . . . an insider's account of the office's operation." He had asked that his client only receive a few years of probation.

In pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in January of 2013, Hachemeister said, some of the illegal prescriptions "I and Dr. Conway wrote and issued went to individuals whom I knew were addicted to oxycodone . . . I often filled out prescriptions for oxycodone that Dr. Conway had pre-signed in advance. All of my conduct in this regard was done specifically at Dr. Conway's direction."

After the sentencing, La Pinta said: "Mr. Hachemeister is a loving, kind and gentle man who is devoted to his family and community. He is most worthy of compassion and leniency."