May 06, 2014
Contact: Public Information Officer
MAY 06 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) –Eric Jacobson, a Great Neck, New York, physician, pleaded guilty yesterday in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to 19 counts of the illegal distribution of the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone. When sentenced, Jacobson faces up to nine years in prison. The defendant previously relinquished his license to practice medicine.
The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York. The plea was entered before the Honorable Joseph F. Bianco at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip.
“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. Today’s conviction reflects our office’s continued commitment to ending the illegal distribution of prescription painkillers in our community, and should serve as a warning to those who would violate their oath as medical professionals to do no harm: if you illegally distribute prescription drugs, you will be held accountable,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “I want to thank our partners at the DEA and the Internal Revenue Service for their outstanding work in investigating this case.”
Jacobson was arrested on June 6, 2012, as part of the Eastern District of New York’s Prescription Drug Initiative, led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the DEA, working with the Nassau County Police Department, the New York State Police, and numerous other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. He has been held in custody since the arrest. The investigation revealed that, from December 2009 through June 2012, the defendant illegally distributed oxycodone to individuals he knew were either abusing or re-selling oxycodone pills to addicts. According to court filings, the defendant charged these individuals, known in the industry as “doctor-shoppers,” various amounts of money – in cash – for each prescription issued. The doctor-shoppers then either re-sold oxycodone to addicts and other users for profit or abused the pills themselves. During the execution of a federal search warrant at his office on December 1, 2011, Jacobson surrendered his DEA license authorizing him to prescribe controlled substances. Despite that surrender, Jacobson continued to engage in the illegal distribution of oxycodone by personally writing prescriptions following the surrender and then, used other healthcare professionals to continue to distribute drugs illegally. Pursuant to his plea agreement with the government, Jacobson agreed to forfeit $250,000 in money and property representing the illegal narcotics proceeds he earned as a result of his illegal distribution of oxycodone.
The Prescription Drug Initiative is a joint effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the DEA, and the five District Attorneys in Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk Counties, working in conjunction with the New York City Police Department and the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, New York/New Jersey HIDTA, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Medicaid Inspector General. The Prescription Drug Initiative is a broad and comprehensive approach to the epidemic of prescription drug trafficking and abuse, involving not only criminal investigation and prosecution at the federal, state, and local level, but also the targeted use of civil law enforcement, regulatory action, and community outreach. The Initiative has expanded information-sharing among federal and state enforcement agencies to better identify and target suspected traffickers and ensure greater use of criminal, civil, forfeiture, injunctive, and other tools.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz, Catherine M. Mirabile, and Kenneth Abell.