Joel Greenberg, a close associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), is set to plead guilty on Monday to federal charges as part of a plea agreement with the feds.
On Thursday, an Orlando federal court scheduled a “change of plea hearing” in Greenberg’s case for Monday—an indication that he has reached a deal after reportedly working with federal authorities since last year.
Greenberg, who had previously pleaded not guilty, currently faces a 33-count indictment on a slew of crimes. Since his initial arrest last June, the indictment has expanded from stalking and identity theft to include charges of stealing from the tax office he once led in Florida and sex trafficking a minor—a 17-year-old girl who Greenberg claimed in a confession letter had been paid to have sex with him and a number of his associates, including Gaetz.
Greenberg’s plea will turn him into a valuable asset for the government. It could also spell trouble for Gaetz, Greenberg’s former wingman and political ally, who himself is currently under investigation for his role in the alleged sex ring, including the trafficking charge.
The Thursday court filing does not provide details of which charges Greenberg will plead guilty to, or the conditions of his agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
However, two sources familiar with the investigation have said Greenberg will likely not be able to shake off the sex trafficking charge. A conviction for sex trafficking a minor carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Daily Beast previously reported that multiple women have come forward to say Greenberg paid them, and they felt pressured to do drugs and have sex with him. The women said that Greenberg paid them as far back as 2013.
In a confession letter Greenberg wrote late last year—in a bungled attempt to secure a pardon from then-President Trump—he laid out in detail how he had set up paid sex encounters for his buddy, the congressman.
Greenberg admitted that he “did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the congressman.” Greenberg also claimed that he and Gaetz had sex with a girl who was then 17 years old.
Records obtained by The Daily Beast show that Greenberg paid more than 40 women through Venmo and Cash App, spending more than $100,000 over two years. Documents also suggest that Gaetz paid Greenberg on Venmo at least three times. In one payment, Gaetz even put “Hit up ___” in the memo field with a nickname for the girl that Greenberg said he and Gaetz had sex with.
Gaetz denies ever paying for sex and has repeatedly stated that he has never had sex with a 17-year-old “as an adult.” He has not been charged with any crimes.
In 2016, Greenberg became the Seminole County tax collector after unseating longtime incumbent Ray Valdes. Soon after taking office, however, he was accused of using millions of taxpayer dollars to hand out lucrative contracts to business partners, political associates, and even pals.
He was forced to resign last June.