Connect with us


Gaetz friend gets 11 years for sex crime, other counts



ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal probe into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes.

Joel Greenberg, former tax collector for Seminole County, had pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, also including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.

“Nothing justifies my actions. My conduct is so shameful. I feel remorse for what I’ve done,” Greenberg said in court Thursday.

Greenberg’s attorney had asked U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell for leniency, saying that his client had assisted in investigations of 24 people, including eight for sex crimes. Defense attorney Fritz Scheller said that Greenberg’s cooperation has led to four federal indictments, and that he believed additional ones were expected in the coming month.

Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an investigation into his friend Gaetz over whether he paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. Gaetz has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot. No charges have been brought against the Republican congressman, who represents a large part of the Florida Panhandle.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a significant reduction in Greenberg’s prison sentence, agreeing during a court hearing on Wednesday to a reduced range of nine years and three months to 11 years. Presnell ended up imposing the upper limit of that range.

The minor in the sex crimes case was almost an adult and had advertised as being over age 18 in her escort profile on the website “Seeking Arrangements,” which facilitates “sugar daddy” relationships, Scheller wrote in court papers.

The defense attorney also said that Greenberg “has provided significant substantial assistance to the government in the areas of public corruption, election fraud, wire fraud, and sex trafficking.”

Scheller also had asked the judge to take into consideration Greenberg’s struggles with mental illness, starting with an attention deficit disorder diagnosis at age 7 and panic attacks, depressive and anxiety disorders as an adult. At the time he committed the crimes, he had bipolar disorder with symptoms of mania, which affected his judgment and impulse control, Scheller said.

Greenberg has been linked to other Florida politicians and their associates. So far, none has been implicated in the sex trafficking investigation.

Some documents related to Greenberg’s cooperation were filed under seal and out of the public eye, with prosecutors and the defense attorney saying they were part of ongoing investigations being conducted by federal authorities in Florida and Washington, as well as state investigators.


Scottie Scheffler Wins Second Red Cardigan at 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational



Photo credit: Mike Brodsky, Florida National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN Sports) – Scottie Scheffler wins his second red cardigan at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, today, along with $4 million of the $20 million prize pool. The red cardigan was first awarded in 2017, in memory of Arnold Palmer who passed the year before. Scheffler first won the API in 2022.

Scottie Scheffler wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo credit: Mike Brodsky, Florida National News)

The number one ranked golfer in the world, Scheffler finished at 15 under par for the four day tournament, carding a 66 today. Wyndham Clark finished in second place at 10 under par. API defending champion, Kurt Kitayama, did not make the cut, this weekend, finishing 7 over par after the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

This coming week, the top golfers head to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, for the 50th anniversary of The Players Championship. The winner will walk away with $4.5 million of the $25 million up for grabs. This is the PGA Tour’s largest regular season purse. Stay tuned to for more.

Continue Reading


Lydia Ko and Jeff McNeil win the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions



Lydia Ko win the 2024 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Sunday, January 21, 2024. Photo by Harry Castiblanco / Florida National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Lake Nona resident, Lydia Ko, has won the 2024 Hilton Grand Vacations LPGA Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, while Mets All-Star Second Baseman, Jeff McNeil, has won the celebrities and amateurs competition. The four day tournament wrapped up Sunday. Ko takes home $225,000 of the $1.5 million prize pool, while baseball player McNeil wins $100,000 of the $500,000 designated for the athletes and entertainers.


Lydia Ko and Jeff McNeil win the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Sunday, January 21, 2024. Photo by Harry Castiblanco / Florida National News

Ko finished at -14, two strokes ahead of Alexa Pano. Defending champion, Brooke Henderson, finished third at ten under par. McNeil ended with 138 points using the Modified Stableford scoring system, in his first time competing in this tournament. Annika Sorenstam finished in second place amongst the celebrity golfers, with 136. Former Major League Baseball pitchers Derek Lowe and Mark Mulder tied for third place at 135.

The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions also announced today that they have extended their agreement with the LPGA to continue this tournament at Lake Nona for another five years, with a 65% increase in the prize pool money.

Stay tuned to Florida National News for more, and be sure to follow our Florida National News page on Facebook for more photos and videos from the tournament.

Continue Reading


Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions Returns to Lake Nona



Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions (Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky, Florida National News)

ORLANDO, Fla. (Florida National News) – The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions is back at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando Thursday, 1/18 through Sunday, 1/21. This tournament kicks off the LPGA Tour’s 74th season, featuring top women golfers, who have qualified by winning a tournament in 2022 or 2023, playing alongside celebrities from the world of sports, entertainment, and music.

Annika Sorenstam practices on the driving range for the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. (Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky, Florida National News)


Comedy fans can watch Larry The Cable Guy entertain the crowd with his one-liners and banter. “Fresh Prince” fans can tune in to Alfonso Ribeiro in hopes of seeing him dance “The Carlton.” Bachelor fans can follow Ben Higgins or Wells Adams to see if they’re passing out any roses.

Sports fans can see some true legends in a different light. Basketball fans can look for Vince Carter, Ray Allen, or Chandler Parsons. Baseball fans can watch for John Smoltz, Albert Pujols, or Roger Clemens. Football fans will find Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Marcus Allen, Brian Urlacher, and Charles Woodson.

You’ll find many other actors, musicians, and champions of various sports. If you’d like to watch some fun golf while also celebrity spotting, be sure to visit the tournament’s website to get your tickets, and to see who else will be playing this year.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Ticket Time Machine ad
Advertisement Orlando Regional REALTOR Association logo
Advertisement Parts Pass App
Advertisement Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
Advertisement African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida
Advertisement FNN News en Español
Advertisement Indian American Chamber of Commerce logo
Advertisement Florida Sports Channel

FNN Newsletter