The former Florida tax official whose criminal case led to a sex trafficking investigation of Representative Matt Gaetz has agreed to plead guilty to six of the charges against him and to cooperate with federal investigators, court documents show .
In a copy of the plea agreement submitted to Orlando federal court on Friday, Joel Greenberg said he would plead guilty to charges of identity theft, criminal harassment, wire fraud, conspiracy to bribing a public official and sex trafficking a minor – a fraction of the 33 charges prosecutors had previously slapped him in the face.
The record also stated that he agreed to “cooperate fully with the United States in the investigation and prosecution of others, and to testify, subject to prosecution for perjury or misrepresentation, in a full and honest manner before any federal court proceedings or federal grand jury. as part of the charges in this case. “
If he cooperates fully, the government will ask for a reduced sentence. A judge will hold a hearing on the proposed deal on Monday.
It’s unclear what the deal means for the investigation into Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crime and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Federal investigators are investigating whether Gaetz and Greenberg have used the internet to search for women they could pay for sex. They are also investigating whether Gaetz had sex with an underage and paid for her to travel with him, The New York Times reported.
According to the court record, Greenberg spent more than $ 70,000 in 150 transactions between 2016 and 2018 to pay women for sex.
One of these women was under 18 “part of the time” Greenberg paid her for sex acts “with him and others.”
He is accused of having had sex with her at least seven times when she was underage.
“Other men to whom Greenberg introduced the minor were engaging in commercial sex acts with the minor in Greenberg’s presence when the minor was under 18,” the record reads.
The corruption charge involves allegations that Greenberg paid a Small Business Administration employee to approve federal loans from a Covid-19 relief program to which Greenberg was not entitled.
The wire fraud charge stems from allegations that he embezzled money from a cryptocurrency account he set up after being elected as a tax collector for Seminole County.
The criminal harassment and identity theft charges to which he agreed to plead guilty are what initially got him arrested last year. Prosecutors said he used false identities to denigrate a teacher who challenged his re-election campaign, accusing the person of “sexual misconduct with a student”.
On Thursday, after it was revealed that a plea hearing change had been scheduled in Greenberg’s case, a spokesperson for Gaetz said the teachers’ claims show Greenberg is not to be believed.
“Joel Greenberg’s first indictment alleges that he falsely accused another man of having sex with a minor for his own gain. This man was apparently innocent. Just like Congressman Gaetz,” he said. spokesperson Harlan Hill said.
Pete williams contributed.