The former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation into US Rep. Matt Gaetz, a former friend, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison for child sex trafficking and other crimes.
Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty last year to six counts, including sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of his guilty plea.
Prosecutors said Greenberg paid at least one minor to have sex with him and other men.
“I let you down and betrayed your trust,” Greenberg told NBC News affiliate WESH during Thursday’s sentencing hearing. informed.
Greenberg also apologized to the residents of Seminole County, where he was a tax collector, as well as to his family and a school teacher he smeared when the educator decided to run against him.
Your cooperation with federal officials could play a role in an investigation about whether Gaetz allegedly sex trafficked a 17-year-old girl.
Gaetz has denied all allegations of wrongdoing and previously said they were part of an extortion plot. No charges have been filed against the Republican congressman, who represents a large part of the Florida Panhandle.
Greenberg’s scandal-plagued stint as Seminole County tax collector began in 2017, when he and Gaetz became friends. According to the plea agreement in his federal case, Greenberg met the child that same year on a website that advertised itself as a place where ‘sugar daddies’ could find ‘sugar babies.
Gaetz was not named in Greenberg’s plea agreement.