Joel Greenberg, ally of Matt Gaetz, hit with new charges

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A fresh indictment was filed on Wednesday against Joel Greenberg, an ally of Rep. Matt Gaetz who has been in the news in connection to sex trafficking allegations that possibly involve the congressman, who is now accused of pocketing over $400,000 while he served as a tax collector in Seminole County, Florida.

In total, Greenberg, 36, is facing 21 new charges, in addition to the 12 already lodged against him, with prosecutors saying he diverted $432,700 in taxpayer funds to purchase cryptocurrency and signed sports memorabilia from NBA superstars Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, according to Click Orlando, which cited court documents.

Prosecutors also allege Greenberg used the government agency’s American Express card to set up a bank account in the organization’s name to write himself checks and reopened two businesses, Greenberg Media and DG3 Network, to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loans. Greenberg is also accused of posing as a political rival in a smear campaign.

“I’m running for office to keep #seminolecounty white and segregated. It’s time we take back our county!” said one post in which the former tax collector mimicked an opponent.

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He further posed as a “concerned student” in a letter to school officials where he detailed sexual harassment allegations against his rival, and as an employee at the educational institution, prosecutors said.

“I am a teacher at (the school), he wrote, according to prosecutors. “I post this today to make the public aware that Mr. (school employee) has had several accusations of sexual misconduct made against him over the past two years,” the post read before further lobbing accusations of sexual encounters with a student.”

Greenberg was indicted in June 2020 for stalking and unlawful use of a means of identification of another person in connection to the alleged fake letters he sent to defame his rival who was employed at the unidentified school, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced. His alleged criminal offenses have since compounded when he was hit with production of identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft and sex trafficking of a child, among others.

Greenberg, who resigned after the indictment, has pleaded not guilty to to the trafficking, stalking and identity fraud charges, and his hearing on the wire fraud offenses is set for next week.

“Right now we’re preparing for the upcoming trial date in June, Joel maintains his innocence, and has previously pleaded not guilty,” Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, said, according to NBC News.

On Tuesday it was reported that Gaetz, a sophomore congressman from Florida, is under investigation by federal authorities in connection to Greenberg’s myriad of charges, particularly those pertaining to sex trafficking.

The New York Times reported the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid her to travel with him. Gaetz has called the report “totally false.” Gaetz told Axios that his lawyers told him that he “was not a target but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women.”

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Gaetz, 38, countered the report on Twitter and in statements to Axios and Fox News with a claim that his family is being extorted for $25 million and that the people pushing stories about an investigation into his relationships with women are the people extorting him and the subjects of an FBI extortion investigation over the last few weeks.

During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Gaetz named David McGee, an attorney with Beggs & Lane, as the former DOJ official who was trying to extort him and his family. The Pensacola law firm called the claims “false and defamatory.”

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