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Two Broward Sheriff's deputies charged by the USAO

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  • Two Broward Sheriff's deputies charged by the USAO

    This is what happens when you sell your soul to an elected Sheriff. The former Sheriff, Al Lamberti, was one of the most unethical and incompetent Sheriff's ever. His Lamberti Crime Family will probably go down in Florida history as the worst sell out of public trust ever.

    I don't like to post anti cop articles, but I know both these guys and they deserve whatever the Feds give them.

    They make all our jobs harder.

    Two suspended Broward Sheriff's deputies were charged Friday with using their badges and abusing their power to protect convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein and settle scores for some of his lawyer friends.
    Federal prosecutors filed criminal conspiracy charges against Lt. David Benjamin, 48, of Boca Raton, and Detective Jeff Poole, 47, of Weston.
    Within hours, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel fired them both.
    Prosecutors said Benjamin received $185,000 in cash, gifts and other perks for violating his oath to uphold the law and protect the public – and used Poole to do some of the dirty work.
    Benjamin arranged to have "force and threats of force" from law enforcement used against the boyfriend of an escort who was threatening to expose her sexual relationship with Rothstein's law partner Stuart Rosenfeldt, according to the allegations and other court records.
    Benjamin also had Poole arrest the ex-wife of Douglas Bates, a lawyer who admitted helping Rothstein commit fraud, on bogus drug charges to help Bates in a child custody battle, investigators said.
    Benjamin also helped Rothstein load $500,000 in cash and millions of dollars worth of watches onto a private jet when Rothstein fled from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to Morocco in October 2009 as his massive investment fraud unraveled, according to the charges.
    In exchange, Rothstein gave Benjamin $153,500 in cash and more than $30,000 worth of jewelry, tickets to sporting events, free meals and other perks between 2008 and late 2009, court records show.
    Benjamin was one of former Sheriff Al Lamberti's top aides and the agency's head of Internal Affairs investigations during his administration. Poole was a detective in the strategic investigations division. Benjamin and Poole worked together in law enforcement for about 25 years, starting at the old Pompano Beach police department and moving to the Sheriff's Office when it took over the agency.
    Benjamin is charged with conspiring to commit extortion and violate civil rights and faces a maximum of five years in federal prison, if convicted. Poole is charged with conspiring to violate civil rights and faces up to ten years behind bars.
    They are expected to surrender Monday at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. The way the charges were filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office suggests that both men are cooperating with prosecutors and are expected to eventually plead guilty.
    The illegal arrest
    Benjamin and Poole are both accused of abusing their power as cops to arrange the illegal arrest of the ex-wife of Douglas Bates, a lawyer friend of Rothstein who has admitted helping him carry out the massive $1.4 billion investment fraud.
    Marcy Romeo previously filed a civil lawsuit against Poole and the Sheriff's Office alleging that Bates helped orchestrate her June 2009 arrest on trumped-up prescription drug charges so he could gain the upper hand in their child custody dispute.
    Bates, who is also cooperating with prosecutors, is scheduled to be sentenced next week for his role in Rothstein's fraud.
    Poole's attorney, Michael Gottlieb, said his client regrets what he did and says that Benjamin called Poole and told him to arrest Romeo.
    "He gets what essentially is a command from his superior officer and he follows it," Gottlieb said. "It's unfortunate that a distinguished law enforcement career is going to end because of one aberrant incident like this."
    A few days after Poole made the arrest, Rothstein paid Benjamin $1,000 for his "assistance" in getting it done, investigators wrote in court records. Bates then got a copy of the police report to use in court in the custody proceedings with his wife, according to the allegations.
    Benjamin's attorney Mike Dutko said Friday that he would only comment on the charges against Benjamin in court.
    In the past, Dutko has said that Benjamin feels like so many others who associated with the notorious Ponzi schemer.
    "He regrets having anything to do with Scott Rothstein," Dutko said in 2013. "If he could turn the clock back, would he do things differently? Absolutely."
    Silencing the escort
    Rothstein has testified in the past that his former law partner Rosenfeldt spent $3,000 to $5,000 per week of the law firm's money on escorts, according to court records.
    In the criminal charges filed against Benjamin on Friday, prosecutors wrote that Rosenfeldt informed Rothstein in late September 2009 that the boyfriend of one of the escorts was threatening to expose his "illicit sexual relationship" with her. Rosenfeldt was concerned it "would ruin his career, his reputation and his marriage."
    Though prosecutors refer to Rosenfeldt only as "the law partner" in their filings, other public records – including Rothstein's prior sworn testimony – and several sources familiar with the investigation confirmed that Rosenfeldt is the partner in question.
    Rosenfeldt's lawyer, Bruce Lehr, said he had no comment on the allegations about Rosenfeldt or escalating rumors that Rosenfeldt is expected to face related criminal charges in the next few weeks.
    About a month before Rothstein's fraud imploded, prosecutors said Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Benjamin began discussing "having the escort and her boyfriend threatened with force and violence" to discourage them from exposing the sexual interaction with Rosenfeldt.
    The lawyers gave Benjamin the escort's first name, address and phone number and he arranged to have a Sheriff's Office employee do a background check on her, investigators wrote.
    In September 2009, a detective, who several sources said was Poole, and two other law enforcement officers who were not identified in court records, illegally used threats of force to get into the escort's home, according to court records.
    The officers handcuffed her boyfriend, searched the home, took her cell phone and "deleted any evidence of her relationship" with Rosenfeldt, prosecutors wrote. One of the officers told the escort to "leave Florida or she would be arrested."
    The next day, two law enforcement officers drove the woman to the airport and told her to return to Pennsylvania, prosecutors wrote. A day later, they said Rothstein paid $1,500 to Benjamin for "his assistance" in the matter.
    Helping Rothstein flee
    One month after that, in late October, as Rothstein fled from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to Morocco, he again sought Benjamin's help. FBI and IRS agents said Rothstein was attempting to avoid prosecution by fleeing -- with huge amounts of cash and valuables that were some of the proceeds of his fraud – to a country with no extradition agreement with the United States.
    Concerned about airport security, Rothstein "instructed defendant Benjamin to assist Rothstein in boarding the airplane" and Benjamin helped carry the cash and jewelry on to the plane, according to the prosecution. Rothstein paid Benjamin $1,000 before leaving, agents said.
    Israel was tight-lipped Friday about whether any other deputies or employees are under scrutiny though he did say no one else has been suspended. He had suspended Benjamin and Poole right after taking office in January 2013.
    "The allegations as you know were very serious; the implications were grave," Israel said Friday. "I could not allow these deputies to continue serving, interacting with Broward Sheriff's deputies and the citizenry, until this case came to fruition."
    Staff Writers Rafael Olmeda, Brittany Wallman and Linda Trischitta contributed to this report.
    [email protected], 954-356-4533 or Twitter @SentinelPaula
    Last edited by So Fla Cop; 04-25-2014, 06:49 PM.
    September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

  • #2
    Didn't they make a movie about this in the 80's??? All I was thinking about while reading this was Miami and the Cocaine Wars where they had LEO's meeting boats and jets and loading their narcotics in the cruisers to deliver.


    That Florida sun must be too much for some to handle.

    Comment


    • #3
      It is not the heat...it is the humidity.
      September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

      Comment


      • #4
        XD- you forgot about the part of ripping off the dealers and dumping their bodies into the Miami River.
        I grew up in Miami during the late 70's / 80's. It was not uncommon to see police as they worked dumped bodies in normally quiet, nice neighborhoods. Or to find bales of pot in Biscayne Bay or washed up on barrier keys/ mangrove areas. It was Wild West like.

        These BSO ***holes felt above the law, and smarter than the lawmen they worked with. I hope Florida offers enhanced punishment for rogue cops.
        SUPPORT COP RUN BUSINESSES!!
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        In 2017, the sales of my LEO related decals allowed me to donate over $350. to LE/ Military related charities... THANK YOU!!! Check them out HERE...

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        • #5
          First one got five years, the second one got a year and a day. Long overdue. Hopefully the old sheriff is next. It is time to restore some faith in our system. When cops are doubting it, I can only imagine what the public feels.
          September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by So Fla Cop View Post
            It is not the heat...it is the humidity.
            After just coming back from there, I can say it's both!!!!
            I’ll die with blue in my veins.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GoldBadge View Post
              After just coming back from there, I can say it's both!!!!
              OK OK....check back with me in January ....
              September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

              Comment

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