On Monday, disgraced former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, 37, pleaded guilty to a half-dozen charges including sex trafficking of a child. In his plea, he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators to give them information on others involved in the scheme which could include Republican congressman, Matt Gaetz, according to reports.
Greenberg has been under fire since last June when he was arrested on federal stalking charges. He allegedly stalked opponents, and made fake social media accounts in order to start rumors about his political opponent and paint the victim as a white supremacist.
At the time of the alleged crimes, ranging from March to November 2017, Greenberg knowingly recruited and solicited a minor to engage in sex acts, according to the indictment. The victim was between 14 and 17 years old, according to the federal indictment.
At the time, Greenberg denied any and all wrongdoing. What a difference a year makes.
“We absolutely deny the allegations,” Vincent Citro, Greenberg’s defense attorney said at the time. “The government will not be able to prove its case. We look forward to prevailing at trial.”
On Friday, however, Greenberg admitted to authorities that he sexually trafficked a child under the age of 18 for he and his colleagues. He also admitted to providing the girl with illegal substances, according to the plea deal.
“Greenberg was involved in what are sometimes referred to as ‘sugar daddy’ relationships where he paid women for sex, but attempted to disguise the payments as ‘school related’ expenses or other living expenses,” the plea agreement stated. “One of the individuals who Greenberg paid for commercial sex acts was a minor under the age of 18 for part of the time when Greenberg paid her to engage in commercial sex acts with him and others.”
Though Greenberg's plea deal doesn't name the other colleagues who took part in the child sex trafficking, Greenberg’s deal is contingent upon him cooperating fully with “the investigation and prosecution of other persons” and requires him to testify “fully and truthfully before any federal court proceeding or federal grand jury in connection with the charges in this case and other matters.”
Not only was this public official engaging in the trafficking of children for sex, he also pleaded guilty to federal charges of identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official. He faces a minimum sentence of 12 years for the charges. However, it could be reduced after he rolls over on his fellow politicians who took part in the child sex trafficking.
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As Law and Crime reports:
Securing Greenberg’s cooperation has been widely viewed as a turning point for investigators in the Justice Department who have reportedly been investigating whether Gaetz also violated federal sex trafficking laws and had sex with the same minor girl. The probe has reportedly focused on whether the minor girl and other women were paid to travel and have sex with Gaetz and his cohorts in the Bahamas and whether the purpose of the trip was to illegally influence the congressman.
Following the proceedings, Greenberg’s attorney, who last month insinuated that an agreement between his client and prosecutors could be very damaging to Gaetz, indicated that Greenberg would provide investigators with any information they sought about the GOP lawmaker.
“Bare bones plea agreement by Greenberg, but count 1, to which he pleads, is the sex trafficking of minors count. If their regular wingman relationship is as Greenberg claims & many Floridians attest, it’s a flat blueprint for charging Gaetz with same crime, a 10-year mandatory [minimum],” former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman tweeted.
Gaetz flatly denies all the allegations and claims they are politically motivated. According to a spokesperson for Gaetz, Greenberg has no evidence to tie him to the case.
Politics aside, Greenberg, who was an elected official, admitted to these crimes and deserves to be held accountable.
It was included in the description of his elected position to be the final call on all taxes paid in Seminole County. Before he was arrested last year, while in his position as tax collector, Greenberg could walk into any business in his jurisdiction and order it closed for non-payment of taxes. He could order cars be booted and homes sold at auction.
He then used taxpayer funds from this job to bribe officials, stalk his victims, and sex traffic a child. This is a man who would have fit right in with the Jeffery Epstein click and likely would have been first in line on the plane to pedophile island.
What this case illustrates is the fact that child predators exist in every level of government, from the Prime Minister to the police officer, these predators often seek out position of authority as it grants them access to tools others do not have to carry out their sick desires.
Sadly, instead of addressing the problem of child sex trafficking among the politically elite, this case will be used by partisan hacks to make "the other party" look bad.