Former Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg could be sentenced in August

ORLANDO, Florida. — More than a year after former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including child sex trafficking, a judge has told prosecutors that he intended to convict Greenberg in August “absent compelling circumstances”.

In a recently filed court order, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell said the one-year delay in sentencing Greenberg was “in the interests of justice.”

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Greenberg, who remains incarcerated in the Orange County Jail pending sentencing, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in federal prison.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Greenberg agreed to cooperate with further criminal investigations. This cooperation could potentially lead to a reduction in additional prison time.

Greenberg was originally scheduled to be sentenced in August 2021 after pleading guilty to child sex trafficking, aggravated identity theft, producing a false identity document, wire fraud, harassment and conspiracy.

Since then, Greenberg’s attorney and federal prosecutors have been successful in convincing the judge to delay sentencing because Greenberg would apparently continue to assist with other undisclosed criminal prosecutions.

“This is an unusual request (to delay sentencing), but I think this is an unusual case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg told the judge during a hearing in October 2021. evidence takes us far. And frankly, it takes us to places we hadn’t anticipated.

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On Friday, prosecutors provided Presnell with a confidential status report that appears to have included a request for an additional sentence deferral, according to court records.

“After examining the government’s proposal in camera and ex parte Status report filed May 13, 2022, it is ordered that, in the interests of justice, a further extension of sentence in this case be granted,” Presnell wrote.

The judge ordered the government to file another status report by July 13 if a sentencing hearing had not yet been scheduled.

“Please note that, absent compelling circumstances, the Court intends to fix the sentence in August 2022,” Presnell’s order said.

Greenberg’s friend and former employee Joseph Ellicott is set to be sentenced on June 28 after pleading guilty to his role in a bribery scheme.

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Ellicott, a former employee of the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office, admitted to acting as an intermediary between an official, believed to be Greenberg, and an unidentified contractor.

This contractor allegedly paid bribes to the official while submitting inflated invoices to a government agency, according to court records.

In addition to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Ellicott also admitted to illegally distributing the prescription drug Adderall. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count.

Like Greenberg, Ellicott agreed to cooperate with federal authorities on other undisclosed criminal investigations in exchange for leniency.

Joseph Zwick, one of Ellicott’s attorneys, reportedly told The Daily Beast that his client cooperated with a sex trafficking investigation involving Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.

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Gaetz, an associate of Greenberg, has denied any wrongdoing and is not charged with any crime.

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Esther L. Steinbach