- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2016

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A former doctor who admitted writing prescriptions for highly addictive opiate painkillers with no medical justification may avoid a jail sentence.

Liviu Holca received a 364-day county jail term when he was sentenced Friday. But the judge suspended the term on the condition that the 58-year-old physician successfully complete three years of probation and perform 100 hours of community service.

Holca also must find employment within 45 days and will forfeit $292,919.

Holca pleaded guilty in March to distributing oxycodone and to money laundering. He had a family medicine practice in Stafford but lost his medical license over the criminal charges and closed his office.

Authorities raided Holca’s office in January 2014, culminating an investigation in which an undercover officer posed as a patient to get prescriptions for hundreds of Percocet and Xanax pills for which she had no medical need.

Authorities say the officer repeatedly told Holca she didn’t need the pills but took them because they made her feel good. She also said she gave the pills to friends.

The officer made weekly visits to Holca, giving him $100 in cash each time in exchange for prescriptions.

Ocean County prosecutors asked the judge to ensure that Holca serve a jail sentence, noting that the region is dealing with an opiate epidemic. They said doctors who write medically unnecessary prescriptions “are no different than others who would push such damaging drugs on the community.”

Daniels said he considered Holca’s entire background in fashioning the sentence. The judge cited Holca’s service in the Romanian National Army before he fled to Yugoslavia to escape oppression in his homeland. Holca then came to America with his wife for opportunities here, and they became citizens in 1992.

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