Associate of former Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg charged with fraudulent scheme, records show
ORLANDO, Florida. – A man whose business was contracted to the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office by Joel Greenberg is now facing fraudulent scheme charges, court records show.
Michael Shirley was arrested in Texas on August 31 after an indictment for fraud was handed down on August 10 by a Florida grand jury.
Shirley faces 1 count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and 4 counts of honest services fraud.
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The indictment says Shirley owns a business, Praetorian Integrated Services, who was hired in January 2017 by a “local government agency in Seminole County.”
The indictment does not say which government agency; however, a consulting services agreement dated January 3, 2017 shows Greenberg hired Praetorian as a “consultant” for a fee of $12,500 per month. Shirley signed this contract for Praetorian while Greenberg signed on behalf of the Tax Collector’s Office.
Greenberg officially took office on January 3, 2017.
Read the consulting services agreement below:
According to the indictment, Shirley would submit inflated invoices to the government agency for goods and services. It also states that Shirley would then pay bribes and kickbacks to a “public official” in return for “receiving favorable action”. This favorable action included hiring Shirley and Praetorian and ensuring they were paid, including inflated bills.
The indictment says the conspiracy included plans for Shirley to use another co-conspirator as an intermediary between himself and the “public official” who was being bribed.
This co-conspirator is not named in the indictment; however, another former Greenberg associate, Joe Ellicott, pleaded guilty in February after prosecutors accused him of acting as an intermediary between a government official believed to be Greenberg and a contractor who provided printing services, folders, envelopes and business cards. Greenberg and the contractor are not named in court records.
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This contractor in this case submitted inflated invoices to the public official’s office, including one with a mark-up of more than 90%, which enriched the contractor and defrauded the government agency, according to court records. This contractor was not named at the time of Ellicott’s guilty plea.
As part of a plea deal, federal prosecutors would have to seek clemency from a judge in exchange for Ellicott’s cooperation in further criminal investigations. He is expected to be sentenced in October and faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each charge against him – participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and illegally distributing the prescription drug Adderall.
The indictment says Shirley and her co-conspirator crafted a cover story for the kickbacks, making it appear that Shirley was giving the co-conspirator money to buy some of the company of the co-conspirator.
In total, Shirley earned at least $466,625.72 from this scheme, according to the indictment.
According to a Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office audit conducted following Greenberg’s arrest, Praetorian was paid $412,000 for “consulting fees only.” The audit notes that the company “also billed us for supplies such as uniform shirts, envelopes. Higher than all other providers.
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The acting tax collector and chief financial officer told listeners at the time that Shirley had done nothing to my knowledge. He helped get Joel elected. He never led any projects or anything after I arrived here in June 2017. No evidence of work product.
Shirley is expected to be arraigned Thursday at the federal courthouse in Orlando.
Read the indictment against Shirley below:
Greenberg pleaded guilty in May 2021 to child sex trafficking, aggravated identity theft, production of a false identity document, wire fraud, harassment and conspiracy. Since entering this plea, Greenberg has cooperated with federal and state agents in other criminal investigations.
He is expected to be sentenced on December 1.
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