Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector and an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., pleaded guilty to six charges Monday in federal court in Orlando and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of the plea deal.

Greenberg, 37, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor and admitted to paying at least one underage girl to have sex with him and other men. Greenberg faces more than 12 years in prison.

He was arrested in June 2020 and was indicted on 33 charges of federal stalking charges, unlawful use of means to identify another person, production of identification and false identification documents, aggravated identity theft, sex trafficking of a child and violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

Greenberg had sex with the underage girl at least seven times, according to prosecutors. He also supplied her with the drug ecstasy.

Greenberg’s guilty plea and cooperation could mean trouble for Gaetz, who faces a Justice Department investigation over an alleged relationship with an underage girl. Greenberg's lawyer explained that his client is determined to cooperate with prosecutors and “honor his plea deal.” 

Gaetz has denied accusations of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her travel over state lines. He has said that the accusations were part of a large exploitation scheme. 

Greenberg was considered a rising a rising Republican star in Florida. He served as Seminole County tax collector from January 2017 to June 2020. Among other charges, he was accused of embezzling $400,000 in taxpayer money.

On Monday morning, an airplane carrying a banner that read "Tick Tock Matt Gaetz" flew over the federal courthouse in Orlando.

Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has stated that he will not resign. Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill said in a statement that Gaetz is innocent. US Representative Matt Gaetz led two dozen fellow Republicans into a secure meeting area where the latest witness in the Donald Trump impeachment investigation was to be deposed by lawmakers, a move that violated US House rules US Representative Matt Gaetz led two dozen fellow Republicans into a secure meeting area where the latest witness in the Donald Trump impeachment investigation was to be deposed by lawmakers, a move that violated US House rules Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ALEX WONG