Joel Greenberg pleads guilty to child sex trafficking
In a plea deal with widespread political ramifications, the former Seminole County tax collector Joel greenberg pleaded guilty Monday in Orlando federal court to child sex trafficking and five counts of fraud.
Greenberg’s pleas were reported Monday morning by The Associated Press.
ABC News reporter Will Streakin also tweeted the news.
“Greenberg did not make a statement beyond the guilty plea and answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the questions,” Streakin tweeted. “Greenberg was shackled and handcuffed to a chain around his waist wearing a dark blue jumpsuit,” he wrote.
With Greenberg now locked up as a federal criminal, federal investigators are counting on his help and his testimony to land others. For months, reports of the affair shed light on the American Republican. Matt Gaetz and others in the Greenberg-Gaetz circle of Republican political associates and savage friends, involving trips plagued by drugs, prostitutes and money laundering.
So far, Federal Court documents do not identify Gaetz or anyone else as potential targets of the investigation. However, Gaetz admitted that he knew he was under a federal criminal investigation and had done so, at least since last fall. He denied everything wrongdoing and claims to be the target of a conspiracy.
Much of the government’s cause has come together after serving warrants to arrest Greenberg on initial federal indictments involving criminal harassment and gaining access to his computers, phones and servers.
As agreed by months of negotiations With federal authorities, Greenberg pleaded guilty on Monday to sex trafficking a child, which carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence and would qualify him as a federal sex offender for the rest of his life.
He also pleaded guilty to producing a false identity document, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, criminal harassment and conspiracy. Among these, the charge of wire fraud could lead to him to 20 years in prison, and the production of false identity documents and conspiracy, each one punishable by 15 years in prison.
Sentencing will be delayed to see how well Greenberg is cooperating in investigating others. His plea deal requires him to cooperate with investigations and testify on behalf of the government.
In return, federal prosecutors have agreed to drop 27 other federal felony charges in indictments against Greenberg since his arrest last summer. The dismissal of these accusations also depends on the cooperation of Greenberg.
Monday’s pleadings went to the United States District Judge Leslie Hoffman in the Middle District of Florida Orlando Division of the US District Court.
Greenberg was first arrested on June 23 on accusations of cyberstalking and stolen IDs, in which he allegedly used his resources from the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office and social media to create fake characters and harass a political opponent.
After investigators got their hands on his computers, the case expanded to include a variety of additional charges, including the charge of sex trafficking, and questions leading to other figures. The emerging image suggested that Greenberg was buying drugs and prostitutes from political friends, sometimes for trips out of state or even overseas, using a Venmo accountand three other accounts, including an official American Express tax collector card.
At the same time, based on his guilty pleas, Greenberg was transferring the tax collector’s official money into personal accounts, converting it into cryptocurrency, and plotting to defraud the Small Business Administration with fraudulent program loans. paycheck protection. Part of his plea deal requires him to hand over more than $ 650,000 in ill-gotten assets.
The plea agreement says other people were involved in the SBA fraud, including a local official and a friend. They have not been named. Federal investigators are also investigating links with Florida’s medical marijuana industry.
In addition to Gaetz, perhaps Florida’s most prominent supporter of the former president Donald trump, former representative of the State. Chris Dorworth, Republican donor and entrepreneur of medical marijuana Jason Pirozzolo and former Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Halsey Beshears are also involved.
Federal officials also spoke to the 17-year-old when Greenberg paid her for sex and trafficked her to others, would have included Gaetz. They would also have been talking with an ex-girlfriend by Gaetz.