The Daily Beast Reveals Gaetz Paid Accused Sex Trafficker, Who Then Venmo’d Teen

[L to R] Joel Greenberg, Matt Gaetz
When Joel Greenberg made his Venmo payments to three young women, he described the money as being for “Tuition,” “School,” and “School.”

In two late-night Venmo transactions in May 2018, Rep. Matt Gaetz sent his friend, the accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg, $900. The next morning, over the course of eight minutes, Greenberg used the same app to send three young women varying sums of money. In total, the transactions amounted to $900.

The memo field for the first of Gaetz’s transactions to Greenberg was titled “Test.” In the second, the Florida GOP congressman wrote “hit up ___.” But instead of a blank, Gaetz wrote a nickname for one of the recipients. (The Daily Beast is not sharing that nickname because the teenager had only turned 18 less than six months before.) When Greenberg then made his Venmo payments to these three young women, he described the money as being for “Tuition,” “School,” and “School.”

The Daily Beast examined these records as a scandal, rooted in a criminal case against Greenberg, engulfs Gaetz.

Greenberg—the former Seminole County tax collector—has now been federally indicted on 33 counts, including sex trafficking crimes involving a 17-year-old. Court documents say Greenberg was “engaged in ‘sugar daddy’ relationships.” And The New York Times says a Justice Department investigation is looking into Gaetz’s involvement in the cash-for-sex ring.

Gaetz and Greenberg are both connected through Venmo to this then-18-year-old woman—who now works in the porn industry, according to a friend of the girl. And on Thursday, Greenberg’s attorney and prosecutors indicated during a court hearing that they expect Greenberg to strike a plea deal, likely meaning he plans to cooperate with investigators.

That could be potentially disastrous for Gaetz, as investigators look into the connections between these two men. And one particularly damning connection is their financial transactions.

This week, during the reporting of this story, Gaetz’s once-public list of Venmo transactions disappeared. Greenberg’s Venmo account is not currently publicly accessible. But The Daily Beast was able to obtain partial records of Greenberg’s past online transactions through a source.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Jose Pagliery, Roger Sollenberger