A former Broward County detective was sentenced to serve a year and a day in federal prison for his role in carrying out a wrongful arrest of a south Florida woman at the direction of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. Jeff Poole, 49, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate civil rights, and could have received a maximum ten-year term. Federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence ranging from 18 months to 24 months.
Poole was a Broward County detective in 2009 when he received a call from Lieutenant David Benjamin, a trusted Rothstein confidant who often moonlighted as Rothstein's private security. Benjamin told Poole to pull over the wife of Doug Bates, a Rothstein colleague, and arrest her for a bottle of unmarked prescription pills that would be found in her purse. Poole carried out Benjamin's instructions, with Bates' wife ultimately serving 18 hours in jail before she was released. The charges were later dropped when it was revealed that the unmarked medication was nothing more than medicine for her autistic child.
While Poole was not accused of having knowledge of Rothstein ordering the arrest, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate civil rights for carrying out Benjamin's instructions to make an illegal arrest. Benjamin was also charged in connection with the incident, and he was sentenced earlier this week to serve a five-year prison term. Bates, who once worked with Rothstein, is currently serving a five-year prison term for writing opinion letters on his law firm letterhead to vouch for Rothstein's scheme. At least 15 individuals have faced criminal charges for their connections to Rothstein, with more charges expected.