Associate of ex-tax collector Joel Greenberg released from prison early

Joseph Ellicott’s sentence was reduced after testifying at another associate’s bribery trial

Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg (left) and Joseph Ellicott (right) (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – An associate of former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg has been released from federal prison nearly two months early after testifying at the recent trial of another Greenberg associate.

Joseph Ellicott, who once served as deputy tax collector, was originally sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to illegally selling prescription drugs and taking part in a bribery scheme.

Last month Ellicott testified at the trial of Michael Shirley, a consultant who was accused of paying a $6,000 bribe to Greenberg in exchange for maintaining a lucrative contract with the tax collector’s office.

Ellicott told jurors that he served as a “middle man” in the bribery scheme by delivering the cash kickback from Shirley to Greenberg.

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During cross-examination by Shirley’s attorney, Ellicott repeatedly exercised his constitutional Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned about allegations that he and others had sex with an underage girl.

The jury later convicted Shirley of honest services fraud and conspiracy.   Shirley faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in October.

Ellicott was scheduled to be released from prison October 9, court records show.

Federal prosecutors filed a motion last week requesting that Ellicott’s sentence be reduced to the time he has already served in custody.

“Since his sentencing, [Ellicott] has continued to assist law enforcement,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Daniels, who noted that Ellicott testified at Shirley’s trial.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell granted the government’s motion Monday. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show Ellicott was released the same day.

Greenberg is serving an 11-year prison sentence for child sex trafficking and other federal offenses.

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News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.