How Gaetz Wingman Greenberg Fraudulently Obtained COVID Relief Loans
Matt Gaetz party pal Joel Greenberg saw an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic and seized it. In addition to alleged sex trafficking, among the 33 criminal charges the former Florida tax collector has been hit with are allegations that he bribed a government official and fraudulently obtained more than $400,000 in disaster relief loans.
The indictment against Greenberg alleges that he convinced a newly hired Small Business Administration official to get around federal regulations that otherwise would have prevented him from obtaining Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), money that was intended to hurt businesses hurt by the pandemic.
Among the most brazen parts of the scheme: Greenberg didn’t even have any operating businesses at the time of the loan applications. The government alleges that he reinstated two companies of his – DG3 Enterprises and Greenberg Media Group – that he had terminated in 2016 when he won election as Seminole County tax collector, prosecutors say.
Greenberg allegedly pulled off the scheme by conscripting a government loan officer to override the Small Business Administration automated system for processing EIDL loan applications and manually enter false information about the companies’ prior year revenue, the number of employees of each and their dates of operation. Another key piece of allegedly faked information: stating that Greenberg was not under criminal indictment at the time of the application. Greenberg submitted the loan application on June 24, 2020 – the day after federal law enforcement arrested him on charges of identity theft and stalking a political opponent.
The scheme netted six new counts against Greenberg, including defrauding the government, bribing a government official, theft, and wire fraud. Prosecutors want him to forfeit the full $432,700. It’s unclear what he did with the money.