Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL.) in 2018 paid an accused sex trafficker who later sent the same amount of cash to teen girls, according to an exclusive report from The Daily Beast.
Gaetz sent two Venmo payments totaling $900 to Joel Greenberg in a late night transaction. He labeled the first transaction “test” and the second transaction “hit up _____,”. The Daily Beast did not release the name of the girl Gaetz asked Greenberg to get in contact with, but noted that the girl had just turned 18 less than six months before.
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.
Greenberg labeled the transactions as being for “Tuition,” “School,” and “School.”
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.
The Daily Beast said that while it was investigating the transactions, Gaetz’s public Venmo record disappeared. Greenberg has also made his Venmo transactions private.
Gaetz is under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a minor and prostitution. He has denied the allegations and tried frame them as a smear campaign against him by his political enemies and the media.
The New York Times reported that investigators are focusing on Gaetz’s involvement with multiple women who Greenberg recruited online through sites like Seeking Arrangement, for sex and then paid them for their time.
Greenberg 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.”
One of the women told her friends that the payments she received were for sex with the two men, people familiar with the conversations told The Times.
The Daily Beast was able to obtain partial records of Greenberg’s past online transactions through a source that showed overlapping transaction with at least one other woman.