Matt Gaetz‘s associate Joel Greenberg, who has been dubbed the Tiger King of tax collectors, has a long history of being accused of misconduct, including complaints alleging that he solicited sex for politicians and tried to hack the computers of those who criticized him.
Gaetz, 38, is under investigation by the Justice Department for his links to Greenberg, who has been accused of sex trafficking.
Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole Country, Florida, is facing 33 counts including stalking, identity theft and sex trafficking. On Thursday his lawyers said the 36-year-old, currently in jail for violating his bail, was cooperating with prosecutors and was readying to take a plea deal.
In addition to the accusations against Greenberg, the New York Times has revealed quite a few more, including that he allegedly solicited women for sex on behalf of politicians, including Gaetz, who has denied all of the allegations against him.
Matt Gaetz’s associate Joel Greenberg (pictured in June 2020), allegedly solicited sex for politicians, created fake IDs for women he treated like his ‘sugar babies’ and burned his wife’s clothes when she left him last year
When he was first arrested last summer, Greenberg’s wife (right) left their home for some time. In February, he allegedly drove to Jupiter looking for his wife, but returned home after his mother-in-law called police. When he arrived home, he is said to have burned his wife’s clothes
Greenberg is also said to have asked a contractor to hack the computers of his critics on the county commission.
Other criminal charges against Greenberg accuse him of using driver’s licenses surrendered to his office to create fake IDs for women with whom he ‘engaged in “sugar daddy” relationships,’ according to the Times.
He is also accused of defrauding the Small Business Administration out of more than $432,000 in COVID-19 relief loans.
Daniel A. Pérez, a lawyer who represented one of Greenberg’s former employees, said of the former official: ‘It’s like the Tiger King got elected tax collector.’
When he was first arrested last summer, Greenberg’s wife left their home for some time.
In November, sheriff’s deputies were called to the house after a verbal dispute between the couple, according to the Times.
A few months later in February, Greenberg allegedly drove to Jupiter, Florida, looking for his wife, which violated the curfew and travel restrictions that were conditional upon his release.
His mother-in-law called police and when he finally returned home, Greenberg reportedly burned his wife’s clothes.
In addition to the accusations against Greenberg, it has been revealed that Greenberg allegedly solicited women for sex on behalf of politicians, including Gaetz. Greenberg is pictured with Roger Stone and Gaetz after having dinner together in 2017
Deputies showed up to arrest him at his home where Greenberg claimed to have explosives and threatened to harm himself. After hours of negotiation, he surrendered.
As if the aforementioned acts weren’t shocking enough, Greenberg is also said to have gone to work carrying a pistol in a state that does not allow guns to be openly carried, and he pretended to be a cop by putting a flashing light on his car to pull over a woman and accuse her of speeding.
The revelations come just days after the House Ethics Committee announced that it was opening an investigation into accusations that Gaetz engaged in ‘sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use’, shared lewd images on the House floor and used campaign funds for personal use.
The Florida congressman has notably failed to win the support of even those within his own party as he battles for survival.
It was also reported last week that Gaetz made a late-night transaction to Greenberg in May 2018, with Greenberg then transferring the exact same sum to three women.
The $900 transaction, made via the app Venmo, was reported by The Daily Beast.
Greenberg, early the next morning, transferred $900 in total to three different women – one of whom is now reportedly working as a porn actress. None of the three were under the age of consent – 18 in Florida – at the time.
Gaetz named one of the women in his reference for the transaction to his friend, using her nickname. Greenberg’s three transfers to the women were labeled as ‘tuition’ and ‘school’.
With Greenberg cooperating with the Justice Department, prosecutors may be able to determine if Gaetz broke any sex trafficking or prostitution laws.
Greenberg’s lawyer Fritz Scheller told reporters last week: ‘I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.’
Scheller was also asked if Greenberg introduced Gaetz to any underage girls for sexual relations.
‘I apologize, I just can’t answer that question,’ Greenberg’s attorney said.
Gaetz, a third-term congressman from Florida, has not been charged with a crime, and he has vehemently denied the various accusations against him, among them that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
He called them a ‘lie’.
But the unsettling series of allegations – including that he may have broken federal sex trafficking laws and been involved in a scheme to recruit and pay women for sex – has put Gaetz’s political future in doubt, just as he was being seen as an increasingly potent force in the Republican Party.