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Joel Greenberg to plead guilty to 6 charges, cooperate in federal investigation

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg is expected to plead guilty Monday to six federal charges, including sex trafficking, as part of a plea deal in exchange for his cooperation of an ongoing federal investigation, according to court documents released Friday.

The Seminole County Republican previously entered a not guilty plea to stalking, unlawful use of means to identify another person, production of identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft, sex trafficking of a child and violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

A notice filed Thursday shows he plans to change his plea during a hearing at 10 a.m. Monday. Federal Judge Leslie Hoffman will oversee the change of plea hearing.

According to the plea agreement, Greenberg will plead guilty to sex trafficking of a child, production of a false document, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking and conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S.


[MORE COVERAGE: Joel Greenberg scandal: Who’s who in the federal investigation? | Joel Greenberg Timeline: From rising Republican star to federal charges]

On April 9, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller said his client would likely take a plea sometime before the trial.

If convicted of all six charges he faces a minimum of 12 years in federal prison. As part of the agreement, Greenberg must also forfeit assets he obtained as the result wire fraud to the government, totaling more than $654,000.


Federal prosecutors write that the funds obtained through wire fraud have been transferred to third parties and cannot be located by the U.S.

As part of the deal the federal government will dismiss the rest of the 27 charges against Greenberg for his cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of other persons, as well as testify during any federal court proceedings. His cooperation also includes disclosing any evidence or relevant information to the investigation.

The plea deal, if approved Monday, is a significant downgrade from the 33 federal charges he was facing.

Greenberg resigned as tax collector in June 2020, following his initial arrest on federal stalking charges after investigators said he made false posts online in an effort to smear a political opponent.

He was later hit with more charges including unlawful use of means to identify another person, production of identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft, sex trafficking of a child and violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.


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Most recently, Greenberg received a third indictment accusing him of embezzling more than $400,000 from the tax collectors office — using some of the money for his cryptocurrency side business — and filing fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loans, EIDLs, through the Small Business Administration, records show. Those loans were created to help struggling businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The case against Greenberg made national headlines when he was tied to another Florida Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz. The New York Times reported the investigation into Greenberg led to another probe of Gaetz surrounding accusations he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. The Republican lawmaker has yet to be charged with a crime.

Federal prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex, according to people familiar with the matter. Gaetz has vehemently denied the allegations and any wrongdoing and insists he will not resign his seat in Congress.

Investigators have also been looking at whether Gaetz and his associates tried to secure government jobs for some of the women, the people said. They are also scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to the medical marijuana sector, including whether his associates sought to influence legislation Gaetz sponsored.


The people had knowledge of the investigation but spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

Source: on 2021-05-14 12:05:17

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