A close friend of Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg — who was Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) wingman — is talking to investigators in the sex trafficking probe involving Gaetz after pleading guilty in an unrelated criminal case, the friend’s attorney told the Daily Beast.
That friend, an ex-Florida radio shock jock known as “Big Joe” Ellicott, pleaded guilty to illegally selling Adderall and conspiracy to commit wire and honest services fraud last week.
According to the indictment in Ellicott’s case, the fraud charge is connected to an alleged bribery scheme involving a public official, whom the Daily Beast identified as Greenberg, plus an unnamed government contractor.
Ellicott’s plea agreement states that he worked as the intermediary for a $6,000 bribe the contractor allegedly paid Greenberg in September 2017 as part of a scam where the contractor would falsely inflate the invoices to Greenberg’s tax agency and keep the difference. The government contractor allegedly transferred the money through Ellicott under the pretense that it was a purchase of part of the radio host’s business, Uncle Joe’s Coins.
Ellicott, whom Politico reported was listed in a subpoena in the Gaetz probe last year, is now cooperating in the investigation into sex trafficking possibly involving the GOP congressman, according to the shock jockey’s lawyer, Joe Zwick. The Daily Beast had uncovered worried texts Ellicott sent to Greenberg via Signal that seemed to acknowledge the victim in the trafficking case was underage.
Greenberg himself has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including child sex trafficking in connection to the Gaetz probe. The former tax official has been reportedly assisting federal prosecutors in the probe as he seeks a looser sentence in his own criminal case.
For his part, Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been criminally charged. In a statement to the Daily Beast, Gaetz’s office maintained the congressman’s belief that the probe is politically motivated.
“After nearly a year of false rumors, not a shred of evidence has implicated Congressman Gaetz in wrongdoing. We remain focused on our work representing Floridians,” his office said.