A Southampton Town Councilman pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to sell narcotics as part of a multi-million dollar oxycodone scheme led by Riverhead physician assistant Michael Troyan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Bradley Bender, 52, is accused of buying oxycodone pills from Troyan, who allegedly wrote phony prescriptions for thousands of pills from his Riverhead urgent care medical practice. Bender then allegedly resold the pills to dealers on the street in exchange for money and steroids, according to federal prosecutors.
Bender will resign his seat as Town Councilman, according to Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone.
Troyan was arrested November 4 following an investigation that captured him on video writing phony prescriptions for oxycodone, a highly addictive narcotic, and receiving large sums of cash in return, according to prosecutors.
Troyan allegedly distributed the prescriptions to about 20 people, who in turn would fill the prescriptions and sell the pills on the street, splitting the cash proceeds with Troyan. The scheme began in 2011 and netted an estimated cash haul of more than $1.8 million.
Bender was one of the 20 co-conspirators involved in the drug ring, prosecutors say. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
Bender was elected town councilman in 2013 after serving as president of the Flanders Riverside Northampton Community Association. A special election will be held in Southampton Town within 60 days to fill his seat.
“Southampton Town Councilman Bradley Bender allegedly distributed diverted pain medication behind the backs of his constituents,” said Charge Hunt, Drug Enforcement Administration special agent, in a justice department press release. “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.”
Troyan, who pleaded not guilty, was released on a bond on November 6 that included the deed to his father’s waterfront home. He is currently negotiating a plea deal and will return to court on January 15, 2016.
“I just can’t wrap my head around this,” said Flanders resident Susan Tocci. “How could he put himself in the public eye knowing that he was doing this?”
Tocci is one of a number of Flanders and Riverside residents who have been calling for an increase in the area’s police presence following a string of vehicle break-ins in recent weeks. Bender, she says, has resisted the idea.
“Here we are trying to increase police patrols, and we have our councilman a drug dealer,” she said. “Being a resident of this community, why would you not beg for more police presence? The only thing I can think of is that you want to cover up your criminal activity.”
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