Gaetz friend gets 11 years for sex crime, other counts

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks...
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg talks to the Orlando Sentinel during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Fla. A former Florida tax collector whose arrest on sex trafficking and identity theft charges led to a probe of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz should not be granted a sentence that is less than federal guidelines in order to promote respect for the law and deter criminal behavior, federal prosecutors said in court papers.(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 12:17 PM EST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal probe into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses.

Joel Greenberg, former tax collector for Seminole County, was accused of stalking a political opponent, public corruption, making fake licenses and scheming to submit false claims for a federal loan.

He pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.

“Nothing justifies my actions. My conduct is so shameful. I feel remorse for what I’ve done,” Greenberg said Thursday before U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell sentenced him in an Orlando courtroom.

Greenberg also directly apologized to the residents of Seminole County, his family and a schoolteacher he smeared when the educator decided to run against him.