SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – In 2016, Joel Greenberg entered the race for Seminole County tax collector roughly 100 days ahead of the primary election. Greenberg defeated longtime Republican incumbent Ray Valdez. The political newcomer began making headlines and, according to a federal indictment, bad decisions.
The one-time rising Republican star now faces 33 federal charges. Here is a timeline showing Greenberg’s steps and possible missteps since he was elected.
May 16, 2016 – According to campaign finance reports, Greenberg self-funds $100,000 into his newly-established tax collector campaign.
Aug. 30, 2016 – Greenberg defeats longtime incumbent Ray Valdez in the Republican primary. Much of Greenberg’s campaign is self-funded and he runs on the promises of destroying corruption inside the Seminole County government.
May - Nov. 2017 – While Greenberg is learning the ropes of his newly elected office, federal authorities allege Greenberg engaged in “commercial sex acts” with a minor older than 14 but younger than 18. They say he allegedly used the state’s driver’s license system (D.A.V.I.D.) to obtain the photograph and license number of the minor victim for sex trafficking purposes. (Ct 2, 4 of 3rd superseding indictment)
According to the indictment, Greenberg used customers’ discarded licenses at the tax office to make the fake licenses, which were done to facilitate commercial sex acts. Greenberg searched DAVID records for individuals with whom he was engaged in “sugar daddy” relationships.
(Scroll down to read the entire 3rd superseding indictment.)
June 29, 2017 – Greenberg announces his employees can now openly carry guns. In an interview with News 6, he said the move is to save taxpayers $350,000 on security hired to accompany deputy tax collectors while they are on the job. “The main purpose of this is to provide security for our employees and customers and to safeguard the assets of the county,” Greenberg told News 6. “I hope we never have to. I pray we never have to, but I’d rather have it and not need it.”
July 8 - 10, 2017 – Shortly thereafter, Greenberg and an advisor head down to Miami to meet with Gaetz, a newly elected Congressman serving on the House Judiciary and Armed Services Committees.
Greenberg spends roughly $917 to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, according to an expense report obtained by News 6. According to the memo portion of the report, Greenberg was there to discuss the new “deputy revenue officer program” with Gaetz. The program was supposed to be a first-of-its-kind law enforcement agency inside the tax collector’s office: a dream that never quite took off.
That same weekend Greenberg posted a now widely circulated selfie to his Twitter account, featuring the tax collector, Gaetz and infamous former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone.
(Scroll down to continue reading.)
November 2017 – Greenberg allegedly used a Tax Collector Office credit card to buy $1,500 in cryptocurrency (Ct 11 of 3rd superseding indictment).
December 2017 – Greenberg allegedly transferred $100,000 to a cryptocurrency exchange (Ct 21 of 3rd superseding indictment). In December 2017 and December 2018, Greenberg allegedly transferred 8.1583 Bitcoin (valued at more than $20,000) to his personal accounts (Cts 22, 23 of 3rd superseding indictment).
November 2017 - June 2020 – Greenberg allegedly produced a false Florida driver’s license containing Greenberg’s photo but the name and personal info of R.Z. (Ct 7, 9 of 3rd superseding indictment)
Sept. - Oct. 2018 – Greenberg allegedly transferred $20,000 from Government Blockchain Systems to a cryptocurrency account he controlled. (Ct 15, 16, 17, 18 of 3rd superseding indictment)
Sept. 2018 - June 2020 – Between September 2018 and June 2020, Greenberg allegedly produced a false Puerto Rico driver’s license containing Greenberg’s photo but the name and personal info of E.J.C.C. (Ct 8, 10 of 3rd superseding indictment).
December 2018 – Greenberg allegedly transferred $200,000 from Tax Collectors Office to a cryptocurrency exchange (Ct 14). In December 2017 and December 2018, Greenberg allegedly transferred 8.1583 Bitcoin (valued at more than $20,000) to his personal accounts (Cts 22, 23 of 3rd superseding indictment)
July 4, 2019 – Greenberg leaves a voicemail on Anna Eskamani’s phone. Both Greenberg and Gaetz call her the future of the Democratic party.
Sept. 24, 2019 – News 6 interviews Greenberg about forming a separate company inside the tax collector’s office aimed at creating digital IDs using incredibly secure and encrypted technology called blockchain. (Note: The tax collector is responsible for issuing IDs and driver’s licenses to county residents.)
However, Greenberg registered the company, Government Blockchain Systems LLC, to himself and a 22-year-old staffer he hired for advice on blockchain technology.
“It is probably an error,” Greenberg told News 6. “I should have put ‘tax collector’ on there instead of just my name.” The filing was amended two days later.
September 26, 2019 – Greenberg drops more than $240,000 in bitcoin into his reelection campaign. The bitcoin is valued at $8,078 per coin.
October - November 2019 – Greenberg, posing as a “very concerned student,” allegedly sent letters to a school where his political opponent worked claiming the employee had engaged in sexual misconduct, created a fake Twitter account using the name and photo of the political opponent that was then used to express support for white supremacy, and created a fake Facebook page of a “very concerned teacher” that claimed the political opponent was engaged in sexual misconduct with a student. (Ct 24, 25 of 3rd superseding indictment)
January 2020 – According to the federal indictment, Greenberg allegedly charged $600 on a Tax Collector Office credit card for an autographed Michael Jordan photograph.
January 27, 2020 – Greenberg donates $194,000 in bitcoin into his reelection campaign. The bitcoin is valued at $9,700 per coin.
June 8, 2020 – Greenberg puts $9,000 into his reelection campaign. Gaetz is the second person to contribute and donates the personal maximum of $1,000.
June 17, 2020 – Greenberg is indicted by a grand jury on the first indictment.
June 20, 2020 – According to the federal indictment, Greenberg files false EIDL applications to receive $132,900 in funding on behalf of himself.
June 23, 2020 – Greenberg is arrested. He pleads not guilty to the charges. He is released on bond while he awaits trial, and is told not to leave the Middle District of Florida.
June 28, 2020 – According to the federal indictment, Greenberg allegedly filed a false EIDL application on behalf of his former company, DG3 Network, and later received $149,900. (Ct.29, 32 of 3rd superseding indictment)
July 15, 2020 – A second superseding indictment is filed against Greenberg, adding additional charges.
July 17, 2020 – Greenberg allegedly bribed a Small Business Administration employee by sending her $3,000 for her assistance preparing and processing the loan applications. (Ct. 26, 27 of 3rd superseding indictment)
July 21, 2020 – Greenberg allegedly filed a false EIDL application on behalf of his former company, Greenberg Media, and later received $149,900. (Ct. 30, 33 of 3rd superseding indictment)
November 5, 2020 – An independent audit of the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office under the leadership of Joel Greenberg found gross misuses of taxpayer money including the purchases of a sprinkler system to remotely spray petitioners, as well as tactical gear and weapons.
February 28, 2021 – According to police reports and video, Greenberg travels to Jupiter, Fla. to his mother-in-law’s home to see his estranged wife. His “surprise” visit is unwelcome, and as a result of the trip, Greenberg violates the conditions of his pretrial release not to leave the Middle District of Florida.
March 3, 2021 – Greenberg is arrested for the Jupiter trip. His bond is revoked and he is to remain behind bars until his trial.
March 30, 2021 – The New York Times reports Gaetz is under investigation by the Dept. of Justice for a possible sexual relationship with an underage girl. The Times reports that federal investigators became interested in Gaetz while they were investigating Greenberg’s case in the Middle District of Florida. Gaetz denies any wrongdoing and claims this investigation was leaked instead to distract from a separate extortion investigation. Gaetz says his family are the victims of the extortion plot and have been cooperating with authorities.
March 31, 2021 – A third superseding indictment is filed against Greenberg. It includes 21 new additional charges in addition to the 12 he was already facing. The new indictment includes more allegations into cryptocurrency fraud and SBA loan fraud.
Read the 3rd superseding indictment below. If the document does not appear, click this link.