At the height of dot-com mania 13 years ago, Jennifer Sultan and a few colleagues sold their small technology company for $70 million in stock and cash.
She and her boyfriend rented a large house in the Hamptons for the summer and bought a spacious loft near Union Square.
In the years since, that temporary flush of wealth evaporated and Ms. Sultan, 38, developed an addiction to prescription painkillers.
On Friday, she sat handcuffed in a courtroom at State Supreme Court in Manhattan. In exchange for a promise of a four-year prison sentence, she pleaded guilty to selling prescription painkillers and conspiring to sell a firearm.
She was arrested last July and accused of being part of a ring that sold prescription drugs and guns. Four others arrested with Ms. Sultan had already pleaded guilty. One, Nicholas Mina, a former New York City police officer, agreed to serve more than 15 years in prison as part of a plea bargain under which he admitted stealing guns from his colleagues’ precinct house lockers and selling them. Mr. Mina was also addicted to prescription painkillers.
Though Ms. Sultan’s lawyer said she had hoped for less than four years, she faced 15 years to life in prison on the top count against her and the potential for more prison time on other charges. She said little in court but smiled broadly several times as she spoke quietly with her lawyer, Frank Rothman.
“She was happy to be done with it, but she was not happy with the sentence,” Mr. Rothman said afterward.
Ms. Sultan grew up in West Long Branch, N.J., five miles north of Asbury Park, and graduated from New York University in 1996. She and her boyfriend at the time, Adam Cohen, worked at a company, Live Online, that was an early pioneer in live streaming events on the Internet.
After the sale of Live Online, efforts by Ms. Sultan and Mr. Cohen to start other technology companies failed. Ms. Sultan explored other interests, including acupuncture and holistic health.
Early last year, a city narcotics investigator discovered an advertisement Ms. Sultan had placed on Craigslist offering prescription painkillers for sale. She and Mr. Cohen were still living in the penthouse loft near Union Square that they bought after the sale of Live Online.
Five times from February through June, she sold pills to an undercover officer, according to her indictment. One sale took place at the Starbucks on Union Square. In another, she sold 183 oxycodone tablets to the officer for $4,400 at a Starbucks in the Flatiron district near the school where she was studying acupuncture.
A separate investigation into the ring that sold stolen guns and pain medication picked up Ms. Sultan sending a text message to the man accused of being the ringleader, Ivan Chavez, saying she wanted to sell him a .357 Magnum handgun for $850, according to a separate indictment obtained by the Manhattan district attorney.
Mr. Chavez was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Ms. Sultan and Mr. Cohen, who was not accused of participating in the drug and guns ring, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Last August, the bankruptcy judge ordered them to vacate the loft to allow a bankruptcy trustee to sell it. The 5,600-square-foot loft is still listed for sale at just under $6 million.
She has been incarcerated since her arrest in July because she was unable to raise $85,000 for bail. With credit for good behavior and time served since her arrest, Ms. Sultan could be released from prison in about two years.
MAR 02 2013
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