Southampton Town Councilman Bradley Bender, 54, of Northampton, resigned from the town board Tuesday after pleading guilty in federal court Tuesday morning to conspiring to illegally distribute pain pills.
According to a statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York State, Mr. Bender pleaded guilty to consipiring to illegally distribute oxycodone before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields in federal court in Central Islip Tuesday morning, after allegedly filling phony prescripitions for the past three years from Riverhead physician assistant Michael Troyan.
Dr. Troyan was arrested in early November for allegedly writing phony prescriptions and an indictment is currently pending before United States District Court Judge Denis R. Hurley.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Bender allegedly received phony prescriptions from July of 2012 to June of 2015, filled those prescriptions, and illegally exchanged the oxycodone pills for cash and steroids, along with another co-conspirator. The pills were then re-sold to drug abusers.
“Abuse of oxycodone on Long Island has reached epidemic proportions,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Capers in a press release Tuesday. “Councilman Bender’s actions in this oxycodone distribution conspiracy victimized the very community he was entrusted to represent. Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder that no one is above the law, including those entrusted with passing our laws.”
“Diverted prescription plll distributors are a new breed of drug dealer because many hide in plain view,” added DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt. “In this case, Southampton Town Councilman Bradley Bender allegedly distributed diverted pain medication behind the backs of his constitutents. By allegedly filling fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions for street sales, he was adding fuel to the fire for the opioid problem that is running rampant throughout American cities, unlike other community representatives, who are looking for ways to contain it.”
When he is sentenced, Mr. Bender could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Mr. Bender was a longtime civic leader in the western Southampton hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, serving on the board of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association before he was elected to the town board in 2013.
Southampton Town released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“Mr. Bender has resigned his position as Southampton Town Councilman, effective immediately. At this time, the town board has no additional information beyond the statement issued by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office this morning.”
“Southampton Town law requires the town board establish a date for a special election to fill the vacated seat no less than 60 days and not more than 90 days following this vacancy. It is the goal of the town board to set that date as soon as possible.”
“The board wishes to assure the community it will continue to conduct all town business and hold all scheduled meetings as planned so as not to interrupt services and tend to the public’s business.”
The town board has set a special meeting for Monday, Nov. 30 at 11 a.m. to set a date for the special election.