Sentencing for ex-Seminole tax collector Greenberg delayed until at least May

Greenberg is cooperating with federal investigators

Joel Greenberg associate pleads guilty to federal charges

ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal judge has agreed to postpone sentencing for former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg until at least May, according to a newly-filed court order, as Greenberg reportedly continues to cooperate with the government “against multiple individuals”.

The decision marks the third time Greenberg’s sentencing has been delayed since he pleaded guilty to six federal charges last year including child sex trafficking, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and stalking.

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During a court hearing last fall, U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell indicated that Greenberg and federal prosecutors would be required to meet a March 29 “deadline” for sentencing.

But last week, Greenberg and the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed confidential reports with the judge explaining why they needed to postpone sentencing yet again.

“(It) appears that a further continuance of (Greenberg’s) sentencing is in the interest of justice,” wrote Presnell in his order granting a delay.

In exchange for prosecutors dropping more than two dozen other charges, Greenberg agreed to cooperate with the government on other investigations and prosecutions.

Greenberg, who is incarcerated in the Orange County jail, faces a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison and potentially more, depending on his level of cooperation with federal authorities.

Greenberg’s attorney has indicated that his client is providing information “against multiple individuals”.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg confirmed during an October court hearing that Greenberg was able to corroborate information federal authorities had previously uncovered while simultaneously providing investigators with new leads to investigate.

“The evidence takes us places. And frankly, it takes us places we did not anticipate,” said Handberg, who has not publicly disclosed the details of those other investigations or identified any potential targets.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, an associate of Greenberg, is under federal investigation for possible sex trafficking, according to published reports.

Gaetz is not charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend appeared at the federal courthouse in downtown Orlando last month where she reportedly testified in front of a grand jury.

Joe Ellicott, an associate and former employee of Greenberg, entered into a plea deal with prosecutors last month after admitting to taking part in a bribery scheme. The plea agreement requires Ellicott to cooperate with the government on other investigations.

The judge did not set a new sentencing date for Greenberg but ordered federal prosecutors to file a status report by May 13 if the parties have not requested a new sentence hearing by then.


About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.