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Broward Commissioner Arrested for Money Laundering

Broward County Commissioner and former state lawmaker Josephus Eggelletion, a Broward County school board member, and three others were arrested by federal authorities Wednesday in connection with an alleged money laundering scheme.

Eggelletion, who served eight years in the state House before leaving because of term limits, and county School Board member Beverly Gallagher were both suspended from their offices Wednesday afternoon by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Officials in Eggelletion's office didn't respond to a request for a comment on his behalf, but his attorney, Johnny McCray, told local media in South Florida that Eggelletion, a Democrat, will plead not guilty.

Eggelletion, Gallagher and former Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman are accused by federal authorities with taking money in exchange for helping people win county contracts or launder money. But it turned out, the people seeking help were undercover FBI agents, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Also arrested in connection with the case were Joel Williams, 54, of North Miami, and Ronald Owens, 62, of Hallandale Beach.

The alleged crimes took place between March of 2006 and this month, the FBI said in the complaint. The money laundering mostly involved helping set up accounts in the Bahamas, according to the criminal complaint.

Eggelletion and other defendants were released from federal custody Wednesday afternoon after a appearing in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Lurana Snow.

Eggelletion represents the county's District 9 on the commission, including parts of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Wilton Manors, Sunrise, Tamarac and Plantation.

Broward County Vice Mayor Ken Keechl said he expected that Crist would likely name an interim replacement for Eggelletion soon, possibly next week. But, he said, “Commissioner Eggelletion, like every other American, is entitled to his day in court.”

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