A former tax collector in Florida is suspected of using $65,000 worth of public funds to allegedly set up his own blockchain company. The tax collector was under investigation for abuse of power when his exploits were uncovered.
Joel Greenberg founded his company Government Blockchain Systems in 2019, according to a report by local outlet Orlando Sentinel. At the time, he claimed that the company was owned by the Tax Collector’s office. It would be used to create a blockchain database which would store the resident’s information in a secure way. It would then sell the technology to other counties in the state, generating income for his county, the report stated.
Months after he founded the company, Greenberg allegedly requested for $40,860 from the tax collector’s office to purchase 20 servers. The office reportedly cut a check to his company, which Greenberg claimed he used to buy 15 servers. Greenberg then issued a cashier’s check for $25,000 to his personal bank account, according to the report.
The former Seminole County tax collector reportedly dissolved his company in May 2020, and returned the money he had used to the tax collector’s office through a series of checks.
Ben Wilcox, an executive at nonprofit watchgroup Integrity Florida, was quoted by the news outlet saying, “I would characterize it as a violation of the public trust. It seems he was mixing personal business with public business. He’s using public taxpayer dollars to fund his personal business.”
Greenberg’s ties with blockchain and digital currencies extends beyond his company, according to the report. In 2019, the 35-year-old reportedly used more than $200,000 worth of digital currencies to fund his re-election campaign.
The politician is currently under investigation on charges including stalking a political rival, abuse of power and the creation of fake driver’s licenses. Greenberg faces over 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges.