Ex-tax collector Joel Greenberg hires new lawyer forward of federal trial

Ex-tax collector Joel Greenberg hires new attorney ahead of federal trial

Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg hired a new attorney to represent him during his trial in federal court this spring.

Greenberg was charged with federal stalking charges in June. Prosecutors later cited other charges, including the unlawful use of means to identify another person, the production of identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft, sex trafficking with a child and violation of the driver’s privacy law.

Greenberg is slated to go to trial in March 2021, but hiring a new lawyer is likely to delay the trial.

According to court records, Greenberg has hired Fritz Scheller as the new defense attorney. Mark Horwitz previously represented the former tax collector until December.

[RELATED: Audit finds Joel Greenberg misspent millions while serving as tax collector]

Scheller was part of the legal team representing Noor Salman, the widow of the man who opened fire at Pulse nightclub in 2016 and shot 49 people. Salman was accused of assisting her husband in the attack but was acquitted of all charges by a jury of her colleagues in 2018.

Greenberg is accused of persecuting his political opponent by creating fake social media accounts and spreading a fake rumor that he sexually abused a student, used information from passed driver’s licenses to get fake IDs with his picture on them and attempted to create forged covert gun permits. He used forged ID cards on people he was involved in “Sugar Fathers” with so that they could “engage in commercial sexual acts” in spite of minors.

He is not guilty of all charges.

An independent audit of the Seminole County Tax Collectors Office under Greenberg’s tenure revealed gross misuse of taxpayers ’money, including the purchase of a remote sprinkler system for petitioners, as well as tactical equipment and weapons.

Greenberg, 35, was a tax collector in the Seminole District from January 2017 to June 24 when he resigned after his indictment.

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