Matt Gaetz pal Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to sex trafficking minor with “two other men”

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Orlando, Florida – Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Micah Greenberg (36, Lake Mary) today pleaded guilty to six federal offenses: sex trafficking of a child, illegally producing a false identification document, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, and conspiracy. Each offense carries a separate penalty.  Greenberg faces maximum terms of imprisonment of 20 years for wire fraud, 15 years for illegally producing a false identification document, 15 years for conspiracy, and 5 years for stalking.  He also faces mandatory minimum sentences of imprisonment: of 10 years, and up to, life in prison for sex trafficking of a child, and of 2 years for aggravated identity theft.  Greenberg will be ordered to pay restitution to his victims in amounts to be determined at his sentencing. 

According to the plea agreement, Greenberg paid for commercial sex acts, including with an individual who was a minor for part of the time when Greenberg paid her to engage in those acts.  Greenberg had met the minor on an internet website and he engaged in commercial sex acts with her on at least seven occasions when she was under the age of 18.  Greenberg also introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts with the minor in the Middle District of Florida.

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On the day of his arrest and execution of a federal search warrant at his residence on June 23, 2020, Greenberg was found in possession of two fake drivers licenses in his wallet – each license contained the personal information of the victim but with Greenberg’s photograph.  Greenberg used his position as Tax Collector to facilitate the production of those fake drivers licenses.   

In addition, Greenberg used his position as Seminole County Tax Collector to embezzle and divert over $400,000 to benefit himself, including to purchase cryptocurrency, to operate a business that sold cryptocurrency mining machines, to mine cryptocurrency, and to purchase personal items, such as autographed sports memorabilia.

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Greenberg also engaged in a course of conduct that caused and attempted to cause substantial emotional distress to a political opponent who worked in the Middle District of Florida, including by knowingly mailing false letters to the school where the employee worked. The letters claimed to be from an anonymous “very concerned student” of the school who claimed to know the school employee had engaged in sexual misconduct with a particular student.

After his federal arrest in June 2020, and while released on special conditions, Greenberg conspired with an employee of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and another individual to submit false claims to SBA for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, available under the CARES Act to businesses negatively affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.  Greenberg and the SBA employee conspired to submit loan applications for two of Greenberg’s businesses falsely claiming the businesses were operating prior to February 2020, when in fact the State previously had administratively dissolved both business and Greenberg only reinstated them to apply for the loans.  Greenberg and the SBA employee also conspired to apply for a third loan in Greenberg’s name.  The loan applications provided false information about the revenues and numbers of employees for the businesses.  As a result of the conspiracy, Greenberg received over $430,000, and he paid $16,000 of that to the individual who recruited him into the scheme, and $3,000 of it as a bribe to the SBA employee.

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This case was investigated by United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger B. Handberg and Jennifer M. Harrington.

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