Councilman pleads guilty to pain pill distribution
Southampton Town Councilman Bradley Bender pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to illegally distribute powerful painkillers.
Bender resigned his position and turned himself in to federal agents Tuesday at court in Central Islip.
Court documents say between July 2012 and June 2015, the 52-year-old would get oxycodone pills and then resell them to addicts. They say he illegally exchanged the pills for cash and steroids with another co-conspirator.
Bender is accused of getting the pills after obtaining phony prescriptions allegedly written by Riverhead physician assistant Michael Troyan.
As News 12 has reported, Troyan was arrested earlier this month, accused of writing fake prescriptions for 60,000 oxycodone pills.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said, "Councilman Bender's actions...victimized the very community he was entrusted to represent."
Defense attorney Brian Desesa says Bender started taking prescription pills about four years ago after an injury. He says his client has suffered with addiction for some time.
"This is the result of the addiction getting the better of him. He's remorseful for his actions. He's sorry to the residents of the town of Southampton," says Desesa.
Bender said outside the Central Islip courthouse that he hopes Southampton Town would "give me a blessing in my recovery" and that they should expect to see him as a "participant in my community."
Bender is due back in court in April. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.