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Long Island

Prosecutors detail Laffer-doctor relationship

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. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer and his wife, Melinda Brady, got prescriptions for painkillers left under the doormat of the Huntington home of a Great Neck doctor "on several occasions" in exchange for leaving cash there, according to federal prosecutors.

The alleged doormat-exchange was detailed in a letter filed in federal district court in Central Islip late Tuesday by Eastern District Assistant United States Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz in arguing that the doctor, Eric Jacobson, should not be released on bail.

The information about Jacobson was based on debriefings of Laffer and Brady, according to sources. Laffer is serving life in prison; Brady 25 years.

Jacobson was one of three Long Island medical professionals arrested three weeks ago as part of a crackdown on alleged trafficking in painkillers. He was held as a danger to the community.

The fact that Jacobson, as a medical doctor, would have used his home doormat as a site to dispense painkillers for cash underlines the idea that he does not behave professionally and is a danger to the community, Treinis Gatz argued.

In the bail letter, Treinis Gatz said "the defendant on several occasions, left prescriptions for controlled substances at his house under the front doormat for both Brady and Laffer, who thereafter picked up the prescriptions and left him cash in payment for the prescription under the doormat.

"Moreover, the defendant acknowledged to law enforcement that he did this as 'helping out,' " Treinis Gatz said.

"This is important because it demonstrates to the court the lengths the defendant has gone to distribute controlled substances and the fact that he did not even leave his home to do so," the bail letter continued. "This activity is well beyond the activity which normally occurs in a traditional doctor/patient relationship, and is more akin to a drug dealer/customer relationship."

But her letter did not specify how many times the alleged scheme occurred or how much cash was involved.

A bail hearing for Jacobson is scheduled for Thursday in federal court in Central Islip.

Jacobson's attorneys could not be reached for comment but have maintained he has done nothing wrong and should be released on bail. Eastern District spokesman Robert Nardoza declined to comment.

In other developments in the ongoing federal crackdown on the illegal trafficking in painkillers in the region, Jacobson and the other two medical professionals, arrested by federal agents three weeks ago, have been separately indicted by federal grand juries in Central Islip on charges of illegal distribution of painkillers.The two others are Dr. William Conway, of Baldwin, and nurse-practitioner Rools Deslouches, of Brentwood. Deslouches' attorney, Marc Gann, said "it is too early in the process to make comment."

Conway's attorney, Richard Langone, said that his client had "hundreds of patients" who would testify what a caring physician his client is, and that "the government can indict a ham sandwich," but it doesn't mean that any guilt is proven.

Jacobson has argued that he did not know that "Laffer and Brady were related [and] that Brady only used the name Brady during her treatment," the prosecutor's letter said.

"However, his own files and subsequent admissions reveal that he was fully aware that Melinda Brady and David Laffer were married," the prosecutor said.

"Melinda Brady used both "Melinda Brady-Laffer" and "Melinda Laffer' while seeing the defendant," the bail letter said.

"Finally, the defendants's admissions to leaving Brady and Laffer prescriptions under his doormat stands in stark contrast to his denials of knowledge of their relationship," the bail letter concluded on Jacobson's dealing with Laffer and Brady.

In addition, the bail letter argues that the patient for whom Jacobson "wrote the most prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone. . . is a young woman with whom the defendant has a personal romantic relationship. This relationship is acknowledged by both parties"

The woman is identified only as Jane Doe #1 in the bail letter.

"Evidence demonstrates that the defendant personally delivered prescriptions to Jane Doe #1, well-beyond what is expected and appropriate in a doctor/patient relationship and evidence of his criminal intent."

The bail letter also said Jacobson prescribed oxycodone to two other patients who "appear to have died from overdoses of controlled substances."

Newsday reported in January that two female patients of Jacobson's had died from drug overdoses, and a lawyer for Jacobson at the time confirmed that he was being investigated in the overdose death of two patients.

But it could not be immediately be confirmed if the bail letter and the January report referred to the same patients.

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