Warm Southern Breeze

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Gaetz Of Hell: Joel Greenberg Cops Pleas To 6 Federal Felonies, Child Sex Trafficking, Identity Theft, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy, Etc.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 14, 2021

No ham sandwich needed.

Solomon “Sol” Wachtler (b.1930), the former Republican Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, coined the phrase “indict a ham sandwich” in a January 1985 interview with Marcia Kramer and Frank Lombardi of the New York Daily News.

In part, the article read that:

“In a bid to make prosecutors more accountable for their actions, Chief Judge Sol Wachtler has proposed that the state scrap the grand jury system of bringing criminal indictments.

“Wachtler, who became the state’s top judge earlier this month, said district attorneys now have so much influence on grand juries that “by and large” they could get them to “indict a ham sandwich.”

A month later, the New York Times noted that Judge Wachtler believed that Grand Juries “operate more often as the prosecutor’s pawn than the citizen’s shield.”

That belief – that Prosecutors can get Grand Juries to do whatever they want them to do – may sound familiar to anyone who has read, or heard, news items of the criticisms of almost any Grand Jury in the United States.

But, of course, the adage doesn’t always true.

At least not in this instance, when the Feds have the goods on their will-plead-guilty-Monday-morning 17 May 2021 suspect – such as DNA and fingerprints – and as an unexpected by-product of the investigation are – more than likely –  working on another very closely-related suspect, who – as of yet – remains unnamed, and unindicted.

That as-yet unnamed, and unindicted suspect would be Florida’s Republican Representative for the 1st Congressional District, Matt Gaetz.

Gatez and Greenberg are each quintessential examples of a Florida Manchild. They’re each multi-millionaires from daddy’s money – Greenberg from his father’s dental clinics, and Gaetz from his father’s pharmaceutical interests – and are, as such, spoiled brats and children of privilege who think the world is their oyster.


One “Florida Man” in the headline, of course, is Joel Greenberg, who was formerly a Tax Collector for Seminole County, Florida, and a very good buddy to the other Florida Man, the Banana Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz of the state’s 1st Congressional District in Fort Walton.

After his election to public office, Greenberg immediately began ingratiating himself to Trump supporters, and spoke at a rally in Sanford, FL in late 2016. Investigative reporting by the New York Times found that Greenberg and Gaetz had initially met one another through their support of Trump some time in 2017 and in June that year, Gaetz suggested to Greenberg that he consider campaigning for U.S. Congress. And on July 8 that year, Greenberg posted on Twitter a picture himself, along with convicted Federal felon, Nixon aficionado and political dirty-trickster Roger Stone, and Gaetz.

In this September 30, 2019, file photo, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to the Orlando Sentinel during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Florida. As a key figure in the federal investigation of Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, Greenberg is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges next week. Joel Greenberg will appear Monday, 17 May 2021 in Federal court in Orlando, Florida for a change of plea hearing, according to court documents. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)

Investigation into Greenberg’s dealings was first initiated by the Secret Service, in response to complaints that he improperly used county resources to mine Bitcoin… after cryptocurrency mining computers he’d purchased with taxpayer dollars for his private personal use caused an electrical system overload, resulting in a fire, which altogether caused over $7000 worth of uninsured damage to Seminole County property.

When the Feds wrapped up their investigation into Greenberg and his activities, they had leveled a 33 count indictment of violating several Federal laws – on charges ranging from stalking to sex trafficking, and conspiracy to fraud – so a plea deal down to 6 is a significant reduction – a very nearly 82% reduction.

David Weinstein, a former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said of Greenberg’s plea deal that, “His cooperation requires him to be providing truthful testimony and to provide it at the government’s request.”

As part of his plea agreement, on Monday, 17 May 2021 in Orlando at the George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Joel Greenberg will admit to recruiting women for commercial sexual exploitation, paying them over $70K from 2016 to 2018, including at least one underage girl then-aged 17, whom he paid to have sex with him, and with others, including Matt Gaetz.

Greenberg’s Plea Agreement, which he signed, and was filed Friday, 14 May 2021, states that he will plead guilty to:

Count One: Sex Trafficking of a Child – 18 USC § 1591
Count Eight: Producing a False ID – 18 US § 1028(a)(1)
Count Nine: Aggravated Identity Theft – 18 USA § 1028A
Count Fourteen: Wire Fraud – 18 USC § 1343
Count Twenty-Four: Stalking – 18 USC § 2261A
County Twenty-Six: Conspiracy – 18 USC § 371

Minimum & Maximum Penalties

Count One: Mandatory Minimum 10 years, up to life, $250,000 fine, supervised release not less than 5 years up to life, special assessment $100

Count Eight: Maximum sentence 15 years, $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release, special assessment $100

Count Nine: Mandatory Minimum 2 years (consecutive to any other conviction), $250,000 fine, 1 year supervised release, special assessment $100

Count Fourteen: Maximum 20 years, $250,000 fine or 2x gross loss caused by offense – whichever is greater, 3 years supervised release, special assessment $100

Count Twenty-Four: 5 years maximum $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release, special assessment $100

Count Twenty-Six: Maximum 15 years, $250,000 fine or twice gross gain or loss caused by offense – whichever is greater, 3 years supervised release, special assessment $100 – because offense was committed while on pre-trial release, and was warned about it

Federal prosecutors say that Greenberg abused his public office as Tax Collector for Seminole County, Florida not only by embezzling $400,000, but also by improperly using a statewide driver license database to “investigate” information about sexual partners, including a then-17-year old girl with whom he, and others had paid to have sex with.

He was also charged with numerous violations of the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, on multiple counts of producing a fraudulent identification document and creating false identification documents, along with aggravated identity theft.

Specifically, Greenberg also abused his elected office by using “his access to the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office to take surrendered driver licenses before they were shredded,” and then he “used the surrendered driver licenses that he had taken to cause fake driver licenses to be produced that had his photograph but the personal information of the victims whose driver licenses he had taken.”

Prosecutors also say that Greenberg’s corrupt house of cards began to crumble with a series of falsified letters which Greenberg had crafted and mailed [fraudulent use of U.S. Mail] which purported to be from a non-existent “very concerned student” enrolled at a private prep school where Brian Beute – a Republican candidate for Tax Collector and political opponent – taught music, and falsely alleged that the music teacher (Greenberg’s political opponent) had engaged in sexual misconduct with another student.

As part of that Roger-Stone-initiated ruse, he also created fake social media accounts in order to pose as Beute, or others, in an attempt to discredit him.

But his problems began in earnest last summer when he was arrested on charges of stalking his political opponent.

Republicans excel, are expert in, and frequent users of, the tactic of psychological projection – falsely claiming that an opponent is engaging in the very activities which they (the accuser) are/have engaged in.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg III testified in court that investigators found Greenberg’s fingerprints and DNA on the letters, and traced the fake social media accounts to his computer’s IP address.

Prosecutors say that Greenberg initially met the under-age girl through a website where she posed as an adult, first had a meeting with her on a boat, and paid her $400. According to details in the plea agreement, he later invited her to various hotels in Florida, where he and others would have sex with her, and in which he also supplied her, and others, with the illegal party drug ecstasy.

Altogether, prosecutors say Greenberg had sex with the girl at least 7 times while she was under age.

The plea agreement, which was signed on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, also states that, “Greenberg also introduced the Minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts with the Minor,” though it does not identify the other men.

That’s the commercial sex trafficking charge.

Federal prosecutors also say that Greenberg abused his position as the Seminole County Tax Collector in order to access a state driver license information database to “investigate” the women he was having sex with, and at least once had searched for the underage girl because he claimed that he “had reason to believe the minor was under the age of 18,” according to the plea agreement.

Greenberg’s indictment also states that in August, he was charged with sex trafficking a girl between ages 14 and 17, and using a state database to look up information about the girl, and other people, with whom he was engaged in so-called “sugar daddy” relationships.

What does all this mean, and what’s its relevance to anything?

In 2018, Florida Man Matt Gaetz sent 2 Venmo transactions to Greenberg which totaled $900. The next day, Greenberg sent 3 separate Venmo transactions to 3 young women that also totaled $900.

Venmo is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service & app popular with the millennial generation that allows its users to share and “like” payments and purchases through a social networking feed, in a manner somewhat similar to Facebook or Twitter. Venmo is typically marketed as “a way to split bills, reimburse friends for cab rides, or pay roommates your portion of the rent.” Similarly to PayPal, Venmo is tied to a bank account or debit/credit card, although the app also displays an “in-app balance.” Venmo’s uniqueness lies in its focus upon social interactions, in which each payment has a publicly-published message attached to it, although the dollar amount of the transaction is removed from public display. Venmo was was purchased by PayPal in 2013.

L-R; Roger Stone, Matt Gaetz, Joel Greenberg from a July 2017 Facebook Post by Matt Gaetz

In the final months of the Trump presidency, after he was Federally indicted, Joel Greenberg sought a Presidential pardon, and as part of that effort, wrote several drafts of a confession letter, at least one of which he sent to Roger Stone, from whom he hoped to curry favor with the President, which stated in part that he and Matt Gaetz paid for sex with several women – including a girl who was then-aged 17 at the time.

“On more than one occasion, this individual [the 17-year-old girl] was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself. From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App, or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.”

–– Excerpt of Joel Greenberg’s confession letter to Roger Stone after his 33-count Federal indictment, in which he asked Stone to help him get a Presidential pardon from then-President Trump

Greenberg and Stone had communicated privately several times in late 2020 using the encrypted communications app Signal, which has a security setting to enable messages to disappear. However, Greenberg took screenshots of the exchanges, and shared them with The Daily Beast.

In one message, Greenberg wrote to Stone that, “If I get you $250k in Bitcoin would that help or is this not a financial matter.”

Stone replied, that, “I understand all of this and have taken it into consideration. I will know more in the next 24 hours I cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.”

On January 13, Stone then solicited money from Greenberg in exchange for attempting to secure a pardon from Trump by writing, “I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident.”

On December 21, Greenberg wrote to Stone that, “My lawyers that I fired, know the whole story about MG’s involvement. They know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and I both had sex with the girl who was underage.”

MG refers to Matt Gaetz.

In his effort to obtain a Presidential pardon, Greenberg wrote several drafts of a confession letter, at least one of which was handwritten. The Daily Beast obtained several examples of Greenberg’s handwriting through two public records requests – a 2019 financial disclosure, and his 2020 Board of Elections form – and sought the expert opinion of Wendy Carlson, a Certified Forensic Examiner and handwriting expert, who concluded that, “The person who authored the forms has been identified as the person who authored the letter.”

In his confession letters, Greenberg shared details about his relationship with Gaetz, confessed to paying young women for sex, and claimed that he, Gaetz, and others had sex with a minor whom they believed to be 19 at the time. Greenberg later said he learned she was underage on September 4, 2017, from “an anonymous tip” and quickly contacted Gaetz.

In a handwritten draft of his confession letter, Greenberg wrote that he “confronted” the then-17-year-old and explained to her “how serious of a situation this was, how many people she put in danger.”

L-R; Florida CD1 Republican Representative Matt Gaetz; Joel Greenberg, also a Republican; Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis

Greenberg wrote further that, “Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage. He was equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation. She apologized and recognized that by lying about her age, she endangered many people. There was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday.”

After the girl turned 18 – the age of legal consent in Florida – Greenberg reestablished contact with her, and The Daily Beast reported that 5 months afterward, Gaetz had sent $900 to Greenberg in 2 Venmo transactions – 1 entitled “Test” and the other titled “hit up ___,” in which the blank was filled in with the girl’s nickname – and that Greenberg then paid her, and 2 other women a total of $900 about 6 hours later.

In his confession letter, Greenberg also admitted to facilitating numerous interactions with college students for Gaetz, and stated that he paid them on Gaetz behalf.

“All of the girls were in college or post college and it was not uncommon for either myself or the Congressman to help anyone [sic] of these girls financially, whether it was a car payment, a flight home to see their family or something as simple as helping pay a speeding ticket.”

––– Excerpt from Joel Greenberg’s confession letter to Roger Stone, which he prepared in hopes of obtaining a Presidential pardon from then-President Trump

Examining a partial record of Greenberg’s Venmo and Cash App transactions strongly suggests that his payments were usually for much more than mere “gas money.”

Over 150 Venmo payments made by Greenberg to several women – including over 70 extra payments made using Cash App –  an app that convert dollars to cryptocurrency bitcoin – which were typically between $300 & $500 – although some payments exceeded $1,000 – were identified by The Daily Beast.

As well, The Daily Beast also spoke to 12 of the over 40 different women who received money from him, and every one of them said that they understood Greenberg’s payments to them were – at least in part – for sex.

As yet, the other Florida Man, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of the state’s 1st Congressional District, has not been charged by authorities, nor have Federal authorities acknowledged any expansion of their investigation. But doubtless, they’re investigating him, and will announce an indictment only after they have air-tight, proof positive of his criminal activity. And if Greenberg’s pleas are any indication, Gaetz will be going down on the sinking SS Greenberg, too.

Gaetz, of course, has “lawyered up,” in addition to securing the services of Logan Circle Group, a public-relations firm which issued a pat denial on his behalf, which read in part that,

“Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex nor has he had sex with a 17 year old as an adult. We are now one month after your outlet and others first reported such lies, and no one has gone on record to directly accuse him of either. Politico, however, has reported Mr. Greenberg threatening to make false accusations against others, which seems noteworthy for your story and in fact sounds like the entirety of your story. Congressman Gaetz has had no role in advocating for or against a pardon for Greenberg and doubts such a pardon was ever even considered.”

Neither the U.S. Secret Service nor Federal prosecutors for the Middle District of Florida have commented on the case.

But again, however, as part of his plea agreement, Joel Greenberg will “rat out” Matt Gaetz.

One of the sordid tales he’ll tell about Gaetz is how, after a October 26, 2019 GOP “Trump Defender Gala” fundraiser at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando, where Gaetz was the featured speaker, after the event, at least 2 individuals there present witnessed Megan Zalonka removing cocaine from her makeup bag, preparing lines of cocaine, rolling a bill of currency, and joining in with Gaetz in snorting the white powdery drug from the bathroom countertop.

Greenberg knew Gaetz date that evening very well: She was a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led the cocaine-fueled party after the event.

And those 2 eye-witnesses will testify that it wasn’t Martha White Self-Rising Flour, or corn starch they were all snorting – including Greenberg.

In fact, that woman – Megan Zalonka – was one of at least 15 whom Gaetz paid to have sex with, and she futher parlayed her relationship with Greenberg into a cushy, contracted, tax-payer-funded pseudo-job which didn’t require that she do anything – for which she pocketed between $7000 and $17,500. That according to public government records, and at least 3 individuals with direct knowledge. Public Accountant Daniel J. O’Keefe who led a forensic audit into Greenberg’s dealings as Tax Collector said of the contract that, “I have no idea what they were doing. And employees wouldn’t know what they were doing. Totally a no-show job. There’s no work product, no evidence work was done. It’s just unbelievable.”

While there’s no confirmation that Gaetz and Zalonka had sex that evening, it’s well known that she was one of a stable of women with whom Gaetz maintained an ongoing “sugar daddy” relationship which included sexual favors. “She was just one of the many pieces of arm candy he had,” said one person with direct knowledge of them.

While Gaetz has said that he has “never paid for sex,” his consistent and vehement denials deflate those assertions when he made a public declaration that the lodging that evening was a campaign-related expense, and let his donors pick up the tab by writing it off.

At this point, everyone is denying everything, and remaining very quiet.

An April 2021 New York Times article about him partially listed some his bizarre, even bad behaviors, such as the appearance of his name on a:

• Burglary incident report when he was aged 18, and the fact of his;
• Involuntary psychiatric commitment when he was 21, the records of both incidents which are sealed;

Including those as an elected public official, when he

• Strode into work openly wearing a pistol on his hip, in violation of state law;
• Impersonating a police officer and detaining a female driver to accuse her of speeding;
• Impersonating a police officer – while wearing short and a backwards baseball cap, with his Tax Collector’s badge around his neck – and detaining another female driver, whom in her complaint to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office about the incident, stated that he had yelled at her for supposedly cutting him off in traffic and driving “like a bat out of hell.”

all of which, as the story’s reporters wrote, demonstrate the wide “array of schemes that Mr. Greenberg is suspected of are broader and altogether show an astonishing disregard for the law by an elected official,” who continuously “tested the boundaries of what he could get away with, until it all imploded.”

A July 2020 article in the Orlando Sentinel via Yahoo! News linked below, enumerates various bizarre, corrupt, and criminal acts Greenberg committed while Tax Collector.

https://news.yahoo.com/charges-against-joel-greenberg-grow-180000770.html

See also: An April 2021 Rolling Stone article about Greenberg, and his often-illegal, self-centered, and corrupt shenanigans.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/who-is-joel-greenberg-matt-gaetz-investigation-1153610/

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