Former Madison Councilman Dr. Vincent Esposito pleaded guilty Tuesday to writing oxycodone prescriptions as a cover for a borough pharmacist who allegedly distributed painkillers to people who did not have legitimate prescriptions.
Esposito plans to cooperate with the state in its prosecution of the pharmacist, Srinivasa Raju, who worked at Bottle Hill Pharmacy, which closed last December, according to the state Attorney General's office and Esposito's defense attorney, Robert Schwartz.
Esposito pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in 2011. If he cooperates with the state, the guilty plea would be amended to a third-degree charge.
A second-degree offense could bring a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison. A third-degree sentence could bring a sentence ranging from probation to up to five years in prison.
Schwartz said the agreement calls for a five-year sentence with the second-degree charge, and a sentence of probation with the third-degree charge.
Esposito on Tuesday also agreed to permanently surrender his medical license in New Jersey.
Esposito in court said he entered into a conspiracy with Raju from May to December 2011. Esposito said he wrote prescriptions after Raju allegedly already distributed the drugs to individuals who didn't have legitimate prescriptions.
Esposito was arrested in February 2012 and was released on $75,000 bail. He gave a brief statement at the next Madison Council meeting, saying he was falsely accused and would fight the charges. He continued to serve through the end of 2012, finishing his term on Madison's governing body. He and Raju were indicted in February.
Esposito's sentencing date is expected to depend on how the case against Raju proceeds in court.