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Friend of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz sentenced to 11 years in prison in sex trafficking case

The ex-Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a former buddy, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in jail for intercourse trafficking of a minor and different offenses.

Joel Greenberg pleaded responsible final 12 months to 6 costs, together with intercourse trafficking of a minor, identification theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as a part of his plea settlement.

Prosecutors mentioned Greenberg paid at the very least one minor to have intercourse with him and different males.

Joel Greenberg, then the Seminole County tax collector, throughout an interview at his workplace in Lake Mary, Fla., in 2019.Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel through Getty Photographs file

“I allow you to down, and I betrayed your belief,” Greenberg mentioned throughout Thursday’s sentencing listening to, NBC Information affiliate WESH reported.

Greenberg additionally apologized to the residents of Seminole County, the place he was tax collector, in addition to his household and a schoolteacher he smeared when the educator determined to run in opposition to him.

His cooperation with federal officers might play a task in an investigation into whether or not Gaetz allegedly sex-trafficked a 17-year-old woman. 

Gaetz has denied all allegations of wrongdoing and beforehand mentioned they have been a part of an extortion plot. No costs have been introduced in opposition to the Republican congressman, who represents a big a part of the Florida Panhandle.

Greenberg’s scandal-plagued time period as Seminole County tax collector began in 2017, across the time he and Gaetz turned pals. Based on the plea settlement in his federal case, Greenberg met the minor that very same 12 months on an internet site promoting itself as a spot the place ‘“sugar daddies’ might discover ‘sugar infants.'”

Gaetz was not named in Greenberg’s plea settlement.

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