Joel Greenberg sentenced to 11 years in prison

The former head of the Seminole County Tax Collector’s office was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday morning after pleading guilty to six criminal charges including sex trafficking.

The Orlando Sentinel reported this morning on the newest phase of the saga of the former tax collector. Prosecutors had sought more than a decade behind bars for Joel Greenberg, though his defense argued for a sentence of two years.

Greenberg was also sentenced to 10 years of probation.

The Greenberg case has ensnared nearly two dozen people involved in Florida’s political sphere, including public officials. The prosecutor for Greenberg’s case said in a released statement that two additional criminal indictments are set to drop soon, though those targeted by prosecutors have not been named.

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Greenberg’s attorney, Fritz Scheller, had said in court that Greenberg’s testimony against people connected to him implicating other crimes should grant him a lower sentence. Some of that testimony from Greenberg included 10 people allegedly involved with a “ghost candidate” scheme in the 2020 Florida Senate election of FL Sen. Jason Brodeur. That case led to the criminal conviction of Ben Paris, the chairman of the Seminole County Republican Party and vice president of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, of which Brodeur is president.

Brodeur won his state Senate seat in the 2020 election after prosecutors say Paris helped fund a fraudulent candidate, Jestine Ianotti, to siphon votes away from Brodeur’s Democratic challenger, Patricia Sigman. Ianotti, who stated in court that she was talked into launching her candidacy by Paris, among others, was in the process of moving to Sweden at the time that she was allegedly campaigning.

Greenberg said that Brodeur was aware of the alleged scheme, which Brodeur, who prosecutors argued was the beneficiary of that alleged scheme, denies. Brodeur recently announced his resignation from his role as president of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce.

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