Broward News

Former BSO Deputies Connected to Scott Rothstein Charged by Feds

David Benjamin, the former Broward Sheriff's Deputy accused of accepting more than $20,000 from convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, was charged Friday with accepting that financial help in exchange for using his authority to protect and aid Rothstein.

Former BSO deputy Jeff Poole was also charged.

Federal prosecutors filed criminal conspiracy charges against Benjamin, 48, and Poole, 47, after the two allegedly took money and gifts from Rothstein to use their influence and power as cops to help him.

Benjamin is charged with conspiring to commit extortion and violate civil rights, while Poole is charged with conspiring to violate civil rights.

See also: Scott Israel Suspends Cops Tied to Scott Rothstein

In November of 2009, New Times reported that Benjamin escorted Rothstein to his chartered jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when the convicted Ponzi schemer fled the U.S. for Morocco.

Rothstein, New Times wrote, had called Benjamin, who was off-duty and armed at the time, hours before the plane was scheduled to take off and asked him to do it.

Benjamin was moved out of BSO Central Command in response to this.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Benjamin used threats against the boyfriend of an escort who apparently had sex with Stuart Rosenfeldt, one of Rothstein's partners. The boyfriend was threatening to expose Rosenfeldt until Benjamin stepped in.

Benjamin also had deputy Poole arrest the ex-wife of another lawyer pal of Rothstein's -- Douglas Bates -- who helped Rothstein commit fraud, on trumped-up drug charges, per the Sun Sentinel.

For being Rothstein's muscle and friend, Benjamin was paid more than $150,000 in cash and got more than $300,000 in gifts, such as jewelry, meals, tickets to sporting events, and rides to those sporting events on private jets.

New Times reported another instance of behaving badly concerning an incident in which Benjamin left a threatening phone message for Dep. John Bailen.

Bailen had apparently been trying to expose a verbal spat between then-Sheriff Al Lamberti and current Sheriff Scott Israel.

When Israel was sworn in as new BSO Sheriff in 2013, one of his first acts was to fire Benjamin.

The former BSO deputies are expected to turn themselves in at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.

The Sun Sentinel reports that both are cooperating with prosecutors and are expected to plead guilty.

If convicted, Benjamin could face a maximum of five years in federal prison. Poole could face up to ten.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph