An Absecon doctor who allegedly helped feed Atlantic County’s opioid epidemic was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday.
Alan Faustino, now 50, put more than 1,200 pills on the street a day, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Janet Gravitz said told the judge before sentencing, adding up the prescriptions for OxyContin, Roxicodone and Alprazolam.
Faustino and six others were charged in the endeavor. One co-defendant, Jason Cylc, is now in Recovery Court. Three others, including Faustino’s new wife, got suspended sentences Thursday. One could not make it to court and will be sentenced later.
Ashley Channell, 29, was helpful in the case and was allowed to re-apply for pretrial intervention. If accepted, she could complete a program without pleading and have the charge removed.
Faustino may have started out a doctor, Gravitz said. But what he became was a drug dealer with a medical license whose practice captured attention with reports of “busloads” of people coming to his practice at $300 a visit that would include no examination just a prescription to feed addicts and those helping supply the drugs on the streets.
Faustino said he was desperately feeding his own addiction, sparked by medical issues that included peripheral neuropathy, a painful nerve condition.
He said he never saw the money the state’s claims would have added up to, and couldn’t even pay his own bills.
Gravitz said Faustino portraying himself in the same light as the true addicts his crimes harmed was “offensive to the state.”
Under the plea agreement, which put the term at the judge’s discretion, Faustino faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Defense attorney Mark Roddy first argued for a non-custodial sentence, which Gravitz said would violate the agreement, which demanded the former doctor do prison time.
In the end, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury agreed that Faustino needed to go to prison, but decided to sentence him as a third-degree offender even though he pled to a second-degree crime.
Co-defendant Kara Minchin, who recently married the doctor, was visibly upset as her husband was taken out in handcuffs.
When the now-29-year-old woman was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence, she declined to address the court saying she had a lot to say but it might not be a good idea because she was too emotional.
Stephen Sklar, 70, was the only co-defendant who did not have an addiction problem. He faced a three year sentence, but that was suspended.
Jeffrey Millman was given a five-year suspended sentence. Claudio Valentin had issues getting to court, his attorney told the judge.
Faustino, who had no prior record, has options now that he has been sentenced, including applying for ISP, or Intensive Supervised Parole, which would allow him to get out early and be monitored. He also could apply to have his sentence transferred to a rehabilitation center.