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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Former Seminole County tax collector accused of embezzling money for cryptocurrency schemes, defrauding COVID-19 relief programs

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 5:23 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY SEMINOLE COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE
  • Photo courtesy Seminole County Tax Collector's Office

If it wouldn't hit the water table, Joel Greenberg would seem on track for a space under the courthouse.

The former Seminole County tax collector, who has already been hit with federal charges ranging from sex trafficking to stalking, gained a few more problems with a federal indictment handed down on Tuesday. The fourth such indictment for the one-time official brings his total number of pending federal charges up to 33. The latest round of charges largely concerns alleged embezzlement from his office and defrauding coronavirus relief programs.



In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Greenberg embezzled or otherwise diverted nearly $400,000 in assets from his office as part of a scheme to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Beyond outright using government funds to buy the digital coins, he allegedly purchased computers under the guise of using them in his office, only to sell them on Amazon to people looking for "cryptocurrency mining machines."

Greenberg is also accused of creating a bank account in the name of Tax Collector's Office and then diverting money from his office into it.

While there's plenty of new-finance, tech-nerd flavor to these alleged crimes, officials claim Greenberg also took part in some old-school boats-and-tickets–style purchasing with the embezzled funds. The feds say that Greenberg purchased Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan memorabilia with some of the proceeds from the scheme.

Elsewhere in the indictment, Greenberg is accused of applying for COVID-19 assistance on behalf of two defunct businesses he owns. While the companies were not operational prior to the pandemic, Greenberg allegedly reported massive losses and a small payroll of 12 employees. The indictment goes on to say that Greenberg bribed an employee of the Small Business Administration to ensure his loan was processed, paying $3,000 to a company controlled by the unnamed employee. He reportedly received over $430,000 in fraudulent loans.

Even his successor, Moira Dictor, had some harsh words for Greenberg, as reported Wednesday in The Forward.

Greenberg's name gained national attention this week when the investigation into his numerous charges knocked loose investigations into Florida representative Matt Gaetz. Unnamed sources at the Department of Justice told the New York Times that Gaetz was under scrutiny for an alleged relationship with a minor.


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