Audit: Joel Greenberg ‘misused’ Seminole taxpayer dollars on body armor, cryptocurrency servers, more

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Auditors found that Joel Greenberg misused public money in his role as Seminole County Tax Collector, according to a report released Wednesday, that says he should return equipment purchased with taxpayer dollars as well as reimburse the county office for legal expenses.

The audit by MSL CPAs & Advisors for Seminole County investigated a series of questionable expenditures and included other odd details such as how Greenberg hired a private company for $15,000 to install sprinklers outside the Casselberry branch that could be remotely operated to aim at people outside gathering signatures for a petition drive. Another portion of the audit notes that employees of the tax collector’s office told auditors that Greenberg had keys to all of the branch offices and could occasionally be seen on security camera footage going into the offices after hours.

Greenberg resigned from the office in June after he was indicted on several federal charges including creating fake IDs with the Tax Collector’s Office equipment.

He along with one of his top deputies racked up $384,000 in credit card charges that the auditors deemed “personal” in nature.

“We noted many charges that took place on weekends and after hours,” the auditors wrote. “We observed charges for items including body armor, weapons, ammunition, and other tactical gear. We noted the purchase of a drone with thermal imaging capabilities.”

Greenberg also spent $90,000 to install computer equipment related to cryptocurrency in a server room inside a private room at the Tax Collector’s Office, auditors found. When the equipment was moved from one office to another, it caused a power surge and started a fire, according to the report. The damage from the blaze was estimated at $6,700 and was not covered by insurance “due to the negligence of the Tax Collector," according to the report. It then cost an additional $1,200 in public money to tear down the server room, the report said.

The report also details other expenditures deemed “misuse of taxpayer dollars” including overpaying by $262,000 in public funds for a former bank building that became the Winter Springs branch.

Seminole County ordered the forensic audit in August after Greenberg resigned to find out if any county funds were being misused.

On Tuesday, Republican J.R. Kroll was elected as Seminole’s new tax collector.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.

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