A former tax collector of a Florida county allegedly paid for sex with an underage girl and illegally used the state’s DMV database to look up information on the minor and women with whom he was engaged in ‘sugar daddy’ relationships with.
The charges were unveiled against Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector of Seminole County until his resignation in June, in a criminal indictment filed by the US Attorney’s office on Friday.
The document, which alleges six new counts against Greenberg in addition to six counts from two previous federal grand jury indictments, doesn’t offer specifics about the sex trafficking charge.
However, the alleged incident involves a girl, aged between 14 and 17, and purportedly took place across a six month period in 2017. That charge alone is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The charges were unveiled against Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector of Seminole County until his resignation in June, in a criminal indictment filed by the US Attorney’s office on Friday
Greenberg, who is married, is also accused of violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by using his access as an elected official to illegally look up information about the minor in The Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID).
He reportedly looked up the girl’s photo, driver identification number, in addition to other information, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors say he also used the database to look up other people, with whom he was embroiled in ‘sugar daddy relationships’ with, the document states. The term sugar daddy refers to an older, wealthy man who dates younger people and gives them gifts in exchange for companionship or sex.
Greenberg, a Republican, used the DAVID network for a series of other prohibited purposes, including to ‘produce a false identification documents and to facilitate his efforts to engage in commercial sex acts,’ prosecutors say.
The allegations stretch back as far as November 11, 2015 – a year before he was elected – where by Greenberg is accused of creating a fake driver’s license using the name, date of birth and address of an adult victim identified in court records as ‘R.Z’.
Prosecutors have accused Greenberg of lifting the private information from the Florida Department of Highway Safety’s website.
The indictment also claims that Greenberg obtained and used the photograph and driver’s license information of R.Z, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
During his four years as tax collector, Greenberg apparently stole surrendered driver’s licenses, before they could be shredded by office staff, to create new IDs with his photograph but the personal information of those drivers.
Greenberg is also accused of violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by using his access as an elected official to illegally look up information about the minor in The Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID), including the girl’s photo and driver identification number (His Lake Mary office pictured above
The allegations stretch back as far as November 11, 2015 – a year before he was elected – where by Greenberg is accused of creating a fake driver’s license using the name, date of birth and address of an adult victim identified in court records as ‘R.Z’
Greenberg was first indicted by a federal grand jury in June on charges that he stalked political opponent, Brian Beute, in the Republican primary for the Tax Collector’s race and for identity theft. He resigned the following day.
The former tax collector was accused of setting up fake social media accounts posing as a ‘very concerned teacher’ at the school where Beute worked, FOX 35 reported.
In a series of social media posts and letter sent to the victim’s employer, Greenberg attempted to spread false information about Beute, the Department of Justice said.
The false information included accusations that Beute was having a sexual relationship with a student of the school, even though Greenberg knew that not to be true.
He also posted on a fake Twitter account that Beute was a segregationist in favor of white supremacy.
Greenberg was arrest on June 23 at his home in the gated community of Heathrow, near Lake Mary. A subsequent search of the home lead to Friday’s charges.
Inside, agents confiscated Greenberg and his wife’s cell phone and computers. A backpack found on a seat in his car belonging to the Tax Collector’s Office was found to contain several fake IDs, documents show.
Agents also reported finding materials used to create fake IDs at Greenberg’s office at the Tax Collector’s administrative office in Lake Mary.
Greenberg’s attorney, Vincent Citro, released a statement in response to the latest charges against his client, saying, ‘We vigorously deny the allegations in the second superseding indictment. The government will not be able to prove this case, and we look forward to prevailing at trial.’
The former tax collector now faces up to 12 federal charges, including unlawful use of means of identification of another person, producing false identification, child sex trafficking, identity theft and stalking. He pleaded not guilty to all previous charges.
Within months of his election in November 2016, Greenberg faced a succession of controversies that would end in his resignation two months ago.
Within months of his election in November 2016, Greenberg faced a succession of controversies that would end in his resignation two months ago (Greenberg pictured right with Roger Stone and Matt Gaetz)
An investigation conducted by the Orlando Sentinel found that Greenberg had paid out $1.9 million in contracts and salaries to close friends, business partners and others to work in the Tax Collector’s Office.
Half-a-dozen of those individuals were found to be part of his wedding party in mid-2016.
That following June, he began allowing employees to openly carry firearms around the office.
Later in 2017, he followed and pulled over a woman he believed to be speeding, scolding her at the roadside while displaying his Tax Collector’s badge, which closely resembles a Sheriff’s badge.
The following month, he himself was pulled over by Lake Mary Police for speeding. Officers say he tried to use his position to avoid a citation.
In 2018, the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Greenberg for what they said were ‘multiple Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic Facebook posts.’
In one of those posts, Greenberg wrote: ‘Very simple question…Name just ONE society in the developed world that has benefited in ANY WAY from the introduction of more Muslims. Just one. Asking for a friend…’
Last year, Greenberg formed a private company within the Tax Collector’s Office related to blockchain technology and then billed his own public office for $65,860 to buy computer servers. He and the now dissolved company later paid back the money, following an uproar.
Greenberg will face a federal judge on Aug. 27 in Orlando to be arraigned on the new charges.