ORLANDO, Fla. — Joel Greenberg, Seminole County's former tax collector and political ally of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, on Wednesday said he wasn't guilty of the latest round of charges filed by federal prosecutors.
What You Need To Know
- Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg has been accused of 33 crimes, including 22 filed on March 31
- Charges include set-trafficking involving a minor and identity theft
- He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges
Greenberg’s not guilty plea, filed by his private criminal defense attorney, is in response to 22 charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida on March 31.
In all, Greenberg has been accused of 33 crimes, from sex-trafficking involving a minor and identity theft, since he was first indicted nearly a year ago, prompting his resignation as tax collector on June 24.
He has now entered not-guilty pleas to all of the charges.
In the latest round of allegations, Greenberg is accused of swindling $400,000 from his former agency, fraudulently obtaining more than $432,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans meant to help small businesses hurt by the pandemic and bribing an unidentified official with the Small Business Administration.
Greenberg, who is being held in the Seminole County jail, also said he would not appear in federal court in Orlando on Friday for his arraignment on the new charges.
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He is not required to attend a status conference at 1 p.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell at the George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse in Orlando.
He waived his right to appear at his arraignment on the 22 new charges at 10 a.m. Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie R. Hoffman at the same courthouse.
Greenberg’s trial is scheduled for June.
He is accused of having a “sugar daddy" relationship with a girl between 14 and 18 from May 2017 to November 2017, though details of the alleged relationship have not been released.
In court filings, federal prosecutors say Greenberg “recruited, enticed, obtained, maintained, and patronized” the teen.
Greenberg also faces charges related to an alleged identity theft scheme against a political foe.
While still in office, Greenberg left behind fingerprints and DNA on letters while posing as a student and falsely accusing the foe of sexually abusing a child, records allege.
Greenberg's case has brought scrutiny onto Gaetz, as the Associated Press reports both are being examined by federal prosecutors over allegations they may have paid underaged girls for sex with money and gifts. Gaetz is also reportedly under investigation over allegations he offered a 17-year-old girl gifts in exchange for sex and traveled with her across state lines.
Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.