- Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg used a private state database to dig up information on celebrities.
- The Orlando Sentinel obtained a spreadsheet of Greenberg’s searches of more than 700 people.
- The list included Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, and Greenberg’s local political rivals.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Matt Gaetz associate and Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg used a confidential state database to search for information on celebrities and political rivals, the Orlando Sentinel found.
Greenberg used his access to the Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) to dig up information on roughly 700 people, according to the Sentinel. Included on the list of people Greenberg had looked up were Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Greenberg’s political rivals, like Democratic candidate for tax collector and radio personality Lynn Dictor.
DAVID contains driver and motor vehicle information, per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It’s also used to keep record of fatalities and bodily injuries, and gives officials access to private information including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and medical information, per the Sentinel.
The Orlando Sentinel obtained a massive spreadsheet of Greenberg’s searches through public record requests and saw that he used the DAVID system from August 2017 until days before he was arrested last June. At the time of his arrest, Greenberg faced over 30 federal charges including sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, wire fraud, illegal monetary transfers, and conspiracy to bribe a public official to defraud the Small Business Administration for COVID-19 relief funds.
“This was an activity by the former tax collector that was not condoned by the DAVID system, and we are working to make sure that this sort of activity does not happen again,” Alan Byrd, a spokesperson for the Seminole County tax collector’s office, told Newsweek.
The Orlando Sentinel spoke to Dictor, who said she felt “violated” by Greenberg’s actions.
“I don’t know what he did with that information,” said Dictor. “Nothing you could say would surprise me about the depths to which Joel Greenberg would sink to.”
Representatives for Spears and Timberlake did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider. Dictor did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.
Greenberg, a long-time associate of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, pleaded guilty on May 17 to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking, wire fraud, identity theft, stalking, and conspiracy. He faces a jail term of at least 12 years.
Greenberg is working with the authorities on multiple cases. Insider reported on July 7 that Greenberg requested his sentencing be pushed back by 90 days so he can continue to help prosecutors. His request was granted and he is now set to be sentenced on November 18. Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, has teased that his client has information that could “hurt an elected official.”
Rumors have swirled that Gaetz might be implicated in the Greenberg investigations, particularly after it was reported that the Florida lawmaker sent multiple cash payments via Venmo to Greenberg, one of which was labeled with a “love hotel emoji.” Greenberg then sent the cash payments on to young women with labels like “ass,” “stuff,” “tuition,” and “school.”