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Jun 24, 2016 12:19 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Former Southampton Councilman Brad Bender Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Drug Charges

Former Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender makes his way into court in Central Islip on Friday morning.  DANA SHAW
Jun 29, 2016 10:11 AM

Former Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender will serve two years in a federal prison for his participation in an oxycodone drug distribution ring.

Mr. Bender, 55, was sentenced at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on Friday morning by Justice Arthur D. Spatt, seven months after pleading guilty to felony charges of illegally distributing the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone. Mr. Bender also paid a $5,000 fine to the court.

He has until noon on September 15 to surrender to the U.S. Marshals office in Brooklyn to start his sentence, although a specific prison has not yet been designated. Mr. Bender has requested to stay in the Northeast, and will be required to participate in a substance abuse treatment program while incarcerated. He will also be subject to three years of probation upon his release from prison.

“I am deeply remorseful and I apologize because I see now firsthand what pain this drug can cause” Mr. Bender said through tears and before his sentence was read. “I lost my job, and my marriage, but I have finally gotten the help that I needed for my addiction.”

Mr. Bender previously admitted that he began selling the pills to pay his medical bills stemming from a back injury he suffered in 2011 that, he said, led to his dependence on the painkillers.

Mr. Bender, who has been free since surrendering his passport and posting a $100,000 bond late last year, was arrested in late November in connection to the investigation of Michael Troyan, a Riverhead-based physician’s assistant who was charged with illegally distributing oxycodone from his medical practice, East End Urgent and Primary Care in Riverhead. Mr. Bender admitted to receiving and filling phony prescriptions from Mr. Troyan and illegally exchanging the oxycodone for cash and steroids from July 2012 through June 2015, most of the time he served on the Southampton Town Board.

Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to say this week if Mr. Bender helped them to build a case against Mr. Troyan, who pleaded guilty to distributing oxycodone at the U.S. District Courthouse in Central Islip on June 17, and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 30.

On Friday, Justice Spatt noted that over a three-year span Mr. Bender filled prescriptions for, and subsequently sold, more than 3,190 30-milligram tablets of oxycodone. Judge Spatt also said Mr. Bender made between $100 and $500 per transaction, depending on the number of pills being sold or traded for steroids.

“For a councilman who was elected to office to be involved in something like this—that is outrageous,” Justice Spatt said, adding that he would not show leniency toward Mr. Bender just because of his former status as an elected official.

In a prior interview, Mr. Bender had speculated that he could potentially avoid any jail time since he had agreed to enroll in a drug counseling program.

Prior to Justice Spatt handing down the sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode argued that Mr. Bender should serve jail time, saying that his crime is especially troubling because elected officials should be trusted allies, not enemies, in the ongoing war to cut down on the number of oxycodone-related deaths. Mr. Bode noted that Suffolk County has one of the highest death rates in the state.

“To say that Mr. Bender’s role as an elected official played no part in his charges, I would argue vehemently that it did,” Mr. Bode said. “This was not a one-time offense but took place over a period of three years.

“Deterrence needs to be a factor here,” he added. “We need to send a message that public officials don’t just get a slap on the wrist when they are caught.”

Mr. Bender declined to comment after his sentencing. His attorney, Brian DeSesa of Sag Harbor, said both he and his client were disheartened with the decision: “We are disappointed with the sentencing, but we understand where the judge is coming from.”

After Friday’s sentencing, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers released a statement saying that Mr. Bender’s two-year sentence should serve as a reminder to all politicians, emphasizing that they are not above the law.

Mr. Bender was elected to the Town Board in the fall of 2013, taking office on January 1, 2014. He resigned following his arrest in November 2015, and was replaced by Julie Lofstad who won a special election to fill the seat in February.

“Today’s sentence is a reminder to all those entrusted to represent the interests of the public that they will be held accountable if they engage in criminal activity and violate that trust,” the statement reads.

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I'll be the first to say...

NOT LONG ENOUGH. At least he plead guilty and took an ounce of ownership. What a disgrace this guy is to the Town.

And I can't believe that ATH NEVER knew or suspected Mr. Bender had an addiction to pain killers during his time on the Board. That's reason enough to not vote for her.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 2:47 PM
He only took an ounce of ownership to get a plea deal and not to have a longer sentence imposed.
By Andrew (11), Calverton on Jun 30, 16 2:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Councilman of the Clink!!!
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 24, 16 3:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wonder if he will get out early for 'good behavior'?
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 24, 16 3:48 PM
There are more opiate deaths in Suffolk County than in any other county in NY. It would seem that a politician supplying 'hillbilly heroin' to junkies in Suffolk County would command a stiffer sentence.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 24, 16 3:53 PM
I hope he gets a cell mate named bubbles.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 24, 16 3:55 PM
Hope to see you out there campaigning for your mentor Anna T Holts after all you were one of the first to offer her your support.How clear was your mind when you votet to give away the east side of the canal in Hampton Bays.Now you will be in jail and Anna trying to sell real estate,,,,how times change
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 4:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Guess he had good behavior and gets to have the summer off to party. Maybe summers off also. Convicted DRUG DEALER???
Some convicts would love california prisions... How about visiting with Warden Joe in Arizonia???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 7:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
Oxy, heroine....they will kill you. You got the sentence for selling. I hope you get help Brad.
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 7:10 PM
I'm a member of his opposing party, and I say the sentence is too severe for a first time offender. Federal drug offense sentencing laws need reform toward more lenience.
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 1:52 AM
you're joking for sure...
By LI native (127), LI on Jun 26, 16 1:00 AM
Your post would have been significantly more poignant if you had supported your statement with any data or examples. Maybe with marijuana but we do not need to be lenient with people that are flat out killing our youth with junk for a few extra bucks.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 26, 16 8:22 AM
Leniency? For a guy who possibly inflected addiction or death on somebody? While serving on an elected position. 2 years seems pretty soft to me.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 25, 16 5:17 AM
What about the other 18 dirtbag dealers that were part of this? Who are they? Are they being sentenced? Why is the DA & everyone else not talking about these people?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 6:48 AM
3 members liked this comment
Seriously! ONLY 2 years??!! With a growing heroin epidemic , what kind of message does this send out to all the losers who want to cash in on being a drug dealer ? Make an example out this idiot former Public Official !!!!!!!! Whats wrong with this Judge??? Are his pockets lined with cash or oxycodone??

Wasn't this idiot selling steroids too???
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Jun 25, 16 9:07 AM
Moral of this story is if you get caught dealing drugs play the addiction card it will land you a soft sentence.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 25, 16 2:25 PM
He lost his job and marriage,,,,,,,,,
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 4:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Dirrrrty man. And an elected official? Perfect opportunity for a NO BS sentence. But......no. Business as usual. What a disgusting little creep. And nobody knew he was a junkie?! Yeah, business as usual.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 9:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
Everybody knew he was using, I'm told, though many people were unware of his resale activities.
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Jul 4, 16 9:52 PM
Total creep at the HGC gym locker room.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jun 26, 16 12:08 AM
I don't know whether I'm angrier at a neighbor being a drug dealer, or that we lost the only representative we've ever had at this end of Town. I always thought that he was a good community activist and spoke effectively for the Northampton-Riverside-Flanders area -- we supported his runs for Town Board, and then this!

Very, very disappointed in Brad and disgusted by his criminal behavior!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 26, 16 1:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
How many young people had their lives ruined by this low life?
By greeneyedlady (55), East Quogue on Jun 26, 16 9:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
I hope karma hits him ten-fold. Lowlife creepy drug dealer that he is.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Jun 26, 16 10:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
i can't believe he only has to pay back 5k - if you read the article he sold over 1500 pills at 100- 500 dollars each pill - That is not an addict that is a drug dealer !

By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Jun 27, 16 12:48 PM
It said "Judge Spatt also said Mr. Bender made between $100 and $500 per transaction, depending on the number of pills being sold" not 100-500 per pill. You have to read and comprehend a little better before you post.
By Andrew (11), Calverton on Jun 30, 16 2:27 PM
100 to 500 for a pill? I think you might be in drugs
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 27, 16 12:56 PM
per newday's article buddy
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Jun 27, 16 1:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
His sentence is despicable! A drug dealer with no conscience !! He should be serving more then two years. . He must have made much more money then he paid back! Squirreled it away I bet !!!!He certainly betrayed the public trust !!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Jun 28, 16 5:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 28, 16 6:12 PM
One of Bender's favorite quotes: "You know what cheers me up? Other people's misfortune."
...that's Bender from Futurama, but you get my point
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jun 29, 16 8:17 AM
He went on an extended bender. Now he has a 2 year hangover.
By 1eastquogueinusa (34), East Quogue on Jun 30, 16 12:51 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jul 1, 16 7:37 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Jul 3, 16 1:41 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Jul 5, 16 8:15 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Jul 5, 16 8:15 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brad (28), Northampton on Jul 6, 16 8:35 AM
Karma Brad…Karma…
I wish the Democratic party will get more solid people …..I mean SOLID…most of the politicians only look after themselves …not the people that GAVE them the job….bunch of greedy ..selfish human beings
By Mate (55), Southampton on Jul 7, 16 10:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
This man was nasty and rude to me for reasons I don't even need to get into. He is Not only a horrible councilman but now a drug dealer..Nice Job Brad.

greedy selfish and disgusting KARMA!!!! have fun in jail
By MISH (2), East Quogue on Oct 13, 16 2:19 PM