UPDATE: A doctor who admitted keeping patients from New Jersey hooked by trading opioids for sex was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison.
Joseph Santiamo, 65, of Staten Island must serve just about all of the 57-month sentence because there's no parole in the federal prison system.
Santiamo, who saw several patients from New Jersey, previously admitted “knowingly prescribed dangerous quantities of oxycodone – and, even more egregiously, solicited sexual favors from certain patients” in exchange for writing them additional opioid scripts, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
Although he specialized in geriatric care, many of Santiamo's patients were "well under 40 years old" and "dealing with pain and addiction,” Honig said.
Others didn’t even have a medical need for the drugs, she said.
“Instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the cycle of drug abuse,” the U.S. attorney said.
“In some instances, Santiamo did this despite evidence that certain patients were abusing opioids,” she added.
Santiamo took a deal from the government rather than face trial, pleading guilty last December to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp sentenced him via videoconference from Newark on Thursday to three years of supervised release. He also fined Santiago $30,000.
Honig credited special agents, diversion investigators and task force officers of the DEA with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker of her Opioids Unit in Newark.
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