On Friday, Joel Greenberg
, a close associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz
(R-FL), pleaded guilty to a slew of federal crimes, including child sex trafficking
, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in ongoing investigations that could very well implicate Gaetz.
Greenberg, a former Florida
tax collector, faced an 86-page, 33-count indictment and agreed to plead guilty to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of a child, producing false identification, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, and conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.
The sex trafficking charge alone carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the other four charges carry maximum sentences ranging from five to twenty years in prison.
Notably, according to the plea agreement, Greenberg agreed to testify that he introduced a child “to other men who engaged in commercial sex acts with the Minor in the Middle District of Florida.”
According to multiple reports, Gaetz is one of those "other men."
Greenberg allegedly paid dozens of young women for sex using Venmo, a cash transfer app, according to the Daily Beast.
Among them are several transfers from Gaetz to Greenberg, including a $300 payment made on November 1, 2018, along with the emoji “love hotel.”
In May of that year, Gaetz sent his friend $900 in two separate transactions, instructing Greenberg to "hit up [the unidentified woman]." The next day, Greenberg transferred $900 to three young women.
The payments back up some of the women's accounts to CNN
of house parties Gaetz and other high-profile men attended in suburban Orlando, where cocaine, ecstasy, and sex were all available.
Gaetz has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing, defending the payments as evidence of his generosity toward ex-girlfriends.