Former Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg sentencing is being set

Greenberg has been cooperating with federal prosecutors in active investigations, court records show

Ex-Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg to change his not-guilty plea

ORLANDO, Fla. – More than a year after Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges including child sex trafficking, the former Seminole County tax collector’s sentencing hearing is in the process of being set, newly filed court records show.

In anticipation of that sentencing, Greenberg filed a motion Tuesday asking the judge for permission to submit additional information to the court under seal related to his cooperation in other criminal investigations.

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“Pursuant to his plea agreement with the Government and to mitigate the significant penalties he faces, Mr. Greenberg has been cooperating with federal prosecutors in active investigations currently being conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida and the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. as well as in other jurisdictions,” wrote Greenberg’s attorney, Fritz Scheller.

Greenberg, who remains incarcerated in the Orange County jail while awaiting sentencing, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in federal prison.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Greenberg agreed to cooperate on other criminal investigations. That cooperation could potentially lead to a reduction in additional prison time.

“If this Court sets a hearing on the motion, the proceeding will convey specific information to the Court concerning Mr. Greenberg’s cooperation against multiple individuals,” Scheller wrote.

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Greenberg was originally scheduled to be sentenced in August 2021 after he pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking, aggravated identity theft, production of a false identification document, wire fraud, stalking and conspiracy.

Since then, Greenberg’s attorney and federal prosecutors have successfully convinced the judge to delay sentencing as Greenberg reportedly continues to assist in other, undisclosed criminal prosecutions.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell indicated in May that the year-long delay in sentencing Greenberg has been “in the interest of justice” but was preparing to sentence Greenberg in August “absent compelling circumstances”.

Greenberg’s friend and former employee, Joseph Ellicott, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 8 after he pleaded guilty to his role in a bribery scheme. A prior sentence hearing in June was postponed due to Ellicott’s health issues.

Ellicott, a former employee of the Seminole County tax collector’s office, admitted to serving as an intermediary between a public official, believed to be Greenberg, and an unidentified contractor.

That contractor allegedly paid bribes to the official while submitting inflated invoices to a government agency, court records show.

Besides taking part in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Ellicott also admitted to illegally distributing the prescription drug Adderall. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count.

Like Greenberg, Ellicott agreed to cooperate with federal authorities on other, undisclosed criminal investigations in exchange for leniency.

Joseph Zwick, one of Ellicott’s attorneys, reportedly told The Daily Beast his client has been cooperating in a sex trafficking investigation involving Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz, an associate of Greenberg, has denied any wrongdoing and is not charged with any crimes.

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About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades.