LAKE MARY, Fla. – As former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg awaits sentencing on child sex trafficking and other federal charges, his estranged wife is asking a judge for permission to sell the couple’s home in Lake Mary’s Heathrow community.
Abby Greenberg filed for divorce last month in Seminole County Circuit Court, saying the couple’s nearly six-year marriage was “irretrievably broken.”
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Joel Greenberg, who is incarcerated in the Orange County jail, is facing a minimum of 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in May to six federal charges including sex trafficking of a child, illegally producing a false identification document, aggravated identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy.
According to a plea agreement, Greenberg admitted to embezzling money from the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office to fund a private cryptocurrency business and fraudulently obtaining federal CARES Act dollars intended to help companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the request of federal prosecutors, Greenberg’s sentencing has been postponed until March so he can continue cooperating with the government on other, undisclosed investigations.
When that sentencing occurs, prosecutors will ask a judge to order Greenberg to pay nearly $665,000 in restitution. Greenberg’s attorney has indicated his client plans to pay additional restitution to victims above the government’s request.
According to Greenberg’s estranged wife, the couple’s only joint asset is their home, which they purchased in 2019 for $600,000.
“The parties have no joint assets other than the marital home because (Joel Greenberg) sold or disposed of much of their marital assets to fund his criminal activities,” Abby Greenberg’s attorney Clayton D. Simmons wrote. “The parties have no joint debts.”
In a motion seeking authorization to sell the home, Abby Greenberg indicated that she desires to sell the property and move on with her life. She noted that her estranged husband is expected to serve a lengthy prison sentence.
Abby Greenberg, who is a real estate agent, would receive a commission from the sale from the home that is necessary to support the couple’s two children since Joel Greenberg is not paying any child support or alimony, according to the court filing.
As part of her divorce petition, Abby Greenberg is asking a judge to award her the home as an equitable distribution to offset the lack of any child support.
Abby Greenberg also wants the judge to liquidate her estranged husband’s cryptocurrency account and award her half the proceeds.
“During the marriage, (Joel Greenberg) sold marital assets and invested the proceeds in cryptocurrency … (and) invested most of his marital earnings in cryptocurrency,” the divorce petition reads.
Court papers do not indicate the value of Joel Greenberg’s cryptocurrency account nor the anticipated sale price of their home.
Joel Greenberg’s divorce attorney, Kenneth J. Cotter, filed a brief answer to the divorce petition Monday that denies Abby Greenberg’s allegations about the couple’s joint assets and debts.