MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A fired Broward Sheriff’s Office Detective was in court Thursday changing his plea in connection to criminal charges relating to convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.
Jeff Poole admits now he wrongly arrested a woman and went before a federal judge to plead guilty.
“Anytime a law officer abuses public trust, it hurts all of us, all of us, said Scott Israel of BSO on April 25th.
Poole was fired along with his superior, Lt. David Benjamin after prosecutors charged them in connection with the Rothstein scandal.
Prosecutors said Rothstein asked Benjamin to arrest the estranged wife of a friend of Rothstein who was going through a nasty child custody case.
In federal court Thursday, May 8th Poole told a judge, “When I was on the scene, I had contact with Lieutenant Benjamin and he told me make sure she goes to jail.”
Poole’s attorney, Micheal Gottlieb, denies his client’s connection to Rothstein.
“My client never spoke to Rothstein, didn’t know him. With a broad brush, could you paint a conspiracy? Perhaps, but he’s not part of that. He followed the orders of a supervising officer.”
The judge asked Poole whether he was just following orders or would have arrested the woman anyway because she had bottles of unmarked pills in her purse and was told she was an abuser.
Poole insisted he was guilty of violating her civil rights but said he didn’t know Rothstein.
“I had no knowledge or background on any of the people involved. I surely didn’t obtain any money from the arrest at all,” Poole told the judge. “I wasn’t suspicious. The only time I was suspicious was over a year later when the FBI started asking me questions about the case.”
Poole will be sentenced on July 17th. The judge told him he faces anywhere from probation to up to ten years in prison.
As a convicted felon, he would never be able to work in law enforcement again.