2 former BSO deputies plead not guilty

David Benjamin, Jeff Poole accused of criminal ties to convicted Ponzi schemer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two former Broward Sheriff's Office deputies with ties to convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges Monday morning.

Lt. David Benjamin, 48, of Boca Raton, and Detective Jeff Poole, 47, of Weston, were released from jail on $250,000 bond.

They are accused of abusing their law enforcement powers to help Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence.

According to the indictment, Benjamin is considered the ringleader.

Prosecutors contend Benjamin accepted $185,000 in cash, jewelry, tickets for sporting events and other perks from Rothstein in exchange for influence and muscle.

The document alleges he sent Poole to do some of his dirty work, including arresting the ex-wife of one of Rothstein's lawyers on bogus drug charges to help him out in a child custody battle.

"He was unknowingly a cog in Rothstein's wheel," Poole's attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told Local 10.

Both men had been suspended for more than a year since Sheriff Scott Israel took office. Israel said they were terminated after Friday's indictments.

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