Former councilman facing 24 to 30 months in prison; will pay back $5K from drug sales
Prosecutors will recommend that former Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender serve between 2 and 2 1/2 years in prison when he is sentenced in June following his guilty plea for illegally distributing oxycodone, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
A federal judge also approved an order April 12 requiring Mr. Bender to pay $5,000 in forfeiture money, which was connected to his criminal actions, prior to his June 24 sentencing in the Eastern District Court of New York.
In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Bender, a Northampton resident, said the sentencing terms were agreed to after he pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone as part of an alleged $1.8 million scheme involving a Riverhead physician assistant who had previously been arrested by federal agents.
Mr. Bender said he took issue with news reports that had detailed the maximum sentence for his charge — up to a $1 million fine and 20 years in jail — saying that sentence was never likely.
“Everybody wanted to run with their headline,” he said.
Mr. Bender had previously said he was seeking treatment for drug addiction and confirmed he is attending biweekly pre-trial counseling to ensure his therapy continues. His attorney, Brian DeSesa of Sag Harbor, could not be reached for comment this week.
Mr. Bender surrendered to federal agents after Michael Troyan, a Riverhead PA, was charged with writing phony prescriptions for oxycodone. Prosecutors allege Mr. Bender was a member of the scheme, filing the fake prescriptions and then exchanging those drugs for cash and steroids from July 2012 to June 2015.
Mr. Bender was first elected to the Southampton Town Board in the fall of 2013. In a previous interview with the News-Review, he denied knowing the extent of the operation, and said he had been addicted to painkillers provided by Mr. Troyan after back surgery.
After his arrest and guilty plea last year, Mr. Bender resigned from his elected position on the Town Board. His seat was filled by Julie Lofstad after a special election earlier this year.
Mr. Troyan, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in November, has continued to work with prosecutors on a plea deal that will likely help him avoid a trial, according to documents filed following a January appearance in Eastern District Court. He is due back in court on May 6.