The Daily Beast has obtained copies of Venmo records for ex-Central Florida county official Joel Greenberg — and these records reveal $900 in 2018 payments from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that came with a directive in a memo to “hit up” a particular 18-year-old. Early the next day, Greenberg sent money to three young women, including the teenager referenced in Gaetz’s original memo, and the amounts that Greenberg sent totaled $900. Greenberg is currently in jail on charges including child sex trafficking, and Gaetz has also been under investigation for issues including potential child sex trafficking involving the same then-17-year-old who was victimized by Greenberg.
The Daily Beast obtained documents of Joel Greenberg's Venmo transactions.
In 2018, Matt Gaetz paid Greenberg $900, with the memo reading "hit up____," using a nickname for one of the girls. Six hours later, Greenberg paid three young women $900.https://t.co/y1PB3YuyxF
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) April 8, 2021
According to The Daily Beast, “Greenberg and Gaetz are also connected on Venmo to at least one other woman that Greenberg paid with taxpayer funds using a government-issued credit card.” (Venmo provides multiple avenues for connections between users, including the option to “friend” other accounts.) In 2018, Greenberg dished out thousands of dollars with his government credit card to the woman, whose financial relationship was deemed suspicious by auditors looking at financial records. These auditors concluded that they simply did “not know what [the money] was for.”
The revelation of this evidence showing financial linkages between Gaetz and Greenberg suggests that the Gaetz scandal is far from over, as the situation is not the result of some kind of political hit job like Gaetz has feverishly claimed. After Gaetz sent over the $900, Greenberg used memo lines to describe his payments to the three young women in question as for “Tuition,” “School,” and “School,” which seems willfully dubious. Gaetz has insisted that he “never, ever paid women for sex” — which seems carefully worded to evade the question of whether he paid an intermediary (Greenberg) who then paid women for sex on his behalf.
Federal investigators have been examining the Congressman since the Trump administration was still in power, when Bill Barr led the Justice Department. Now, a prosecutor handling Greenberg’s criminal case and his own defense attorney have revealed that the ex-official is preparing to agree to a plea deal, with that attorney, Fritz Scheller, ominously stating that he’s “sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable” following the revelation of Greenberg’s impending guilty plea. In other words, Greenberg is seemingly getting set up to cooperate with prosecutors in relevant investigations — including, presumably, the Gaetz probe.
“I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” – attorney for Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg on whether Congressman has anything to worry about now that his friend & associate is likely to plea. pic.twitter.com/YiAe7f4SA9
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCNN) April 8, 2021