Joel Greenberg and wife finalize divorce as former Seminole tax collector awaits sentencing – Orlando Sentinel
Joel Greenberg and his ex-wife, Abby Greenberg, are now officially divorced after a circuit judge finalized the couple’s split on Monday, according to court documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
The couple separated just over a year ago when the former Seminole County tax collector was last arrested on March 2, 2021. He has been charged with 33 federal crimes and has eventually pleaded guilty to six felonies – including child sex trafficking, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, creating fake driver’s licenses and conspiring to bribe a public official.
Because Joel Greenberg is currently incarcerated in Orange County Jail awaiting sentencing — and likely faces several years in federal prison — Circuit Judge Christopher Sprysenski said the former tax collector will not will not be required to pay child support for the couple’s two young children until he “has financial capacity,” according to his order.
Sprysenski also granted Joel and Abby Greenberg joint parental responsibility for their two children – a 4-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy. However, the amount of time Joel Greenberg will be allowed to spend with his children will be determined by the courts upon his release from prison, according to the order.
Any money in Joel Greenberg’s cryptocurrency account will be distributed through the courts “should it ever be accessed” by the former tax collector, Sprysenski said.
Abby Greenberg, in court documents she filed this month, claimed Joel Greenberg had a cryptocurrency account worth up to $3 million. But he hadn’t paid her “a penny” in child support or alimony, according to her file.
His attorney, Clayton Simmons, said he does not know where the information needed to access this cryptocurrency account is located and that federal investigators likely have it. Even so, Abby Greenberg “would be entitled to a piece of that,” he said.
Greenberg’s criminal defense attorney, Fritz Scheller, questioned the existence of a cryptocurrency account worth so much money.
Joel and Abby Greenberg tied the knot on Feb. 29, 2016, in Seminole County, the same year he defeated longtime tax collector Ray Valdes in the Republican primary in August. Greenberg went on to win the countywide election against a write-in opponent.
Last October, Abby Greenberg filed for divorce saying “the marriage has broken down irretrievably and should be dissolved.”
She said in court documents that during the marriage, 37-year-old Joel Greenberg sold his assets and invested the proceedings in cryptocurrency.
Abby Greenberg is a freelance realtor and works from her home near Sand Lake Road near Altamonte Springs. According to a financial affidavit she filed with the court, her monthly expenses total $23,528, including $715 for counseling, $1,000 for her clothes, $200 for her children’s clothes, $1,000 for services. public, $1,000 for gifts and $1,000 for food.
Simmons said in a letter to the court that Abby Greenberg supported herself and her children through IRS refunds and property insurance settlements.
According to county records, Joel and Abby Greenberg bought a 4,680 square foot home in the Heathrow gated development near Lake Mary in November 2019 for $600,000, taking out a $480,000 mortgage.
The home was sold Dec. 17 for $750,000, according to county records. Proceeds were split evenly between Abby and Joel Greenberg, Simmons said in her letter.
This month, Abby Greenberg asked Sprysenski to finalize the divorce, mainly because Simmons plans to retire on May 1 and her husband’s criminal case has no bearing on the dissolution of their marriage. Otherwise, she would have had to look for a new lawyer to represent her.
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On Friday, Greenberg’s divorce attorney, Kenneth Cotter of Winter Park, told the court that Greenberg had no objection to finalizing divorce proceedings.
While in office, Greenberg used public money to dive into cryptocurrency investments, according to federal investigators. In June 2018, he became the first official in Florida to begin accepting bitcoin as payment for new IDs, license plates and property taxes.
Last December, Seminole County District Attorney Bryant Applegate announced he had reached an agreement with the former tax collector for the payment of nearly $1.9 million in restitution for public money. which was ill-spent during Greenberg’s tenure. This includes $98,000 in equipment for blockchain transactions.
Greenberg resigned in June 2020, shortly after he was first arrested on federal harassment and impersonation charges. On March 3, 2021, Greenberg was arrested again for breaching bail conditions when he left his Heathrow home and traveled to South Florida to visit Abby Greenberg, who was then living with his mother.
Scheller has repeatedly said that Greenberg feels remorse for his crimes and is working with federal prosecutors.
This month, a rap video posted to YouTube about US Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Pensacola, featured Abby Greenberg. Gaetz was friends with Joel Greenberg and is believed to be one of the people federal prosecutors are investigating.