Gaetz Buddy’s Plea Agreement Reveals New Sex Trafficking Details

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during the House Judiciary Committee's markup of the House’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on December 11, 2019. (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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May 14, 2021 2:40 p.m.

A newly filed plea agreement for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)’s former buddy Joel Greenberg sheds new light on how other men allegedly participated in the sex trafficking scheme to which the former Seminole County tax collector is set to plead guilty.

According to the plea agreement, filed in federal court in Orlando on Friday, Greenberg is set to admit that he paid a minor to have sex with him, and introduced her to other men in the area.

“Greenberg also introduced the Minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts with the Minor in the Middle District of Florida,” the agreement reads.

Greenberg will plead guilty to six felony counts including federal sex trafficking charges, the agreement says and Business Insider first reported.

After his June 2020 indictment, Greenberg contacted the minor and tried to convince her to lie to make their stories “line up, because he knew that his commercial sex acts with her were illegal,” the filing reads.

Gaetz reportedly had sex with the same minor, who was 17 at the time of the purported encounter. Gaetz reportedly paid for sex with the girl and for her to travel with him across state lines.

Gaetz is not mentioned by name in the filing, nor is there any obvious reference to him.

Gaetz denies that he has ever slept with a 17-year old since the time that he himself was 17.

In the agreement, Greenberg admitted to having paid more than $70,000 for sex, across 150 separate transactions.

Those were made through his Venmo account, but also via an American Express account at the tax collector’s office.

The payments for sex ranged from $200 to $1000, and Greenberg would try to conceal their purpose by saying they were for “school,” “food,” or “ice cream.”

In some cases, the agreement says, Greenberg would give the women (and the minor) ecstasy and take it himself, or pay them to do so.

“Oftentimes, Greenberg would offer to pay the Minor an additional amount to take Ecstasy,” the filing reads.

Greenberg would meet the women on a website that has been separately reported to be Seeking Arrangements, which advertises itself as a platform for “sugar daddies” to find “sugar babies.”

It was on that website that Greenberg met the 17-year-old.

From there, Greenberg contacted her on Snapchat, before he paid her $400 for a meeting on his boat. No sex occurred, but Greenberg later paid her more than $400 for sex at a local hotel.

The agreement also says that Greenberg will admit to having introduced the minor to other men in the Middle District of Florida. No other men have been charged in the scheme.

Greenberg would use access to a state ID database to “investigate his sexual partners.” That included the minor, who Greenberg ran a search for in September 2017 because he had “reason to believe that the Minor was under the age of 18.”

The two had been communicating since at least April 2017, the filing says.

Greenberg also ran several schemes related to cryptocurrency.

In one, he “obtained a series of American Express credit cards in the name of the Tax Collector’s Office.” He used those cards on thousands of dollars of personal items, including cryptocurrency. Another scheme saw Greenberg open a bank account in the name of the tax collector’s office, and fund it with deposits made by handwritten checks from official accounts. That account was used to fund a $100,000 cryptocurrency investment, helping to cause a deficit that, the agreement says, nearly caused the tax collector to miss payroll.

Yet another scheme saw Greenberg run a crypto mining operation out of a tax collector office. When the servers eventually (and inevitably) caught fire, it caused nearly $100,000 in damage to the office.

Read the plea agreement here:

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