A former Internal Revenue Service attorney pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine on Long Island in a case that echoed the cable TV show “Breaking Bad.”
Jack Vitayanon — an Ivy League-educated, former Washington, D.C.-based attorney for the IRS’ Office of Professional Responsibility — faces at least 11 1⁄4 to 14 years in prison. He has agreed to forfeit $125,000 in drug proceeds.
Vitayanon, 42, who currently lives with his parents in Paterson, New Jersey, is scheduled to be sentenced April 13. His lawyer said he no longer works at the IRS.
On Friday, Vitayanon told U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip that between September 2014 to February 2017 he arranged for “large quantities” of meth to be shipped to the Island, where it would be sold.
More than 500 grams of the drug was peddled, federal prosecutor Charles Rose said.
Vitayanon said the deals were conducted over the phone and via text messages, with the drug then delivered through the mail or in person.
“Did you receive them?” the judge asked Vitayanon of the shipments.
“Yes, on occasion,” he said.
Vitayanon, who became addicted to meth, according to his lawyer, completed an inpatient drug treatment program in November.
At the time of Vitayanon’s arrest on Feb. 1, then-Eastern District U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said the case was a real-life version of “Breaking Bad,” which tells the story of a struggling high school chemistry teacher who turned to a life of crime by producing and selling meth.
Vitayanon was arrested after he shipped the drug via FedEx from his Washington apartment to a Long Island informant, authorities said.
Vitayanon, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia Law School, declined to comment Friday as he left the courthouse.
“Mr. Vitayanon would like to put this behind him,” said his attorney, Bradley Simon of Manhattan.