Joel Greenberg Witness in ‘Ghost Candidate’ Fraud Case

August 27, 2022 Criminal Defense

We’ve previously covered the details of former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg’s case, where he is facing criminal charges for sex trafficking, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Greenberg has come up once again for agreeing to help with a separate ongoing case.

Multiple people are facing fraud charges for the 2020 Florida Senate election. We will provide details on the case, explain how Greenberg is assisting the authorities, and explain fraud charges in Florida.

2020 Ghost Candidate Case

There are three people facing fraud charges after they allegedly came up with a scheme to have a ghost candidate in the 2020 Florida Senate election. A ghost candidate has been used by political parties to close elections or siphon off votes.

“While not illegal per se, many have questioned the ethics of the practice,” State Attorney Phil Archer said. “However, when that candidate and the partisan political operatives involved violate election finance laws by illegally funding those races and filing false reports, it is the responsibility of the government to act.”

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) who investigated the case, independent candidate Jestine Iannoti, 36, illegally accepted $1,200 as a cash donation from political advisor Eric Foglesong, 45. The two allegedly falsely used the names of other people as contributors in their campaign finance documents.  Benjamin Paris is a third person in the mix of the scheme and has been accused of giving the names of the people who were falsely used in the finance report.

Iannoti is currently facing charges including the commission of a fraudulent act, accepting a cash contributions from the same contributor in an election, and false reporting or deliberate failure to include information. Paris is facing one count of making one contribution through or in the name of another person in an election. Fogelsong is facing charges of illegal campaign contributions and commission of a fraudulent act.

This is not Fogelson’s first arrest—he plead guilty to grand theft in 2019 for stealing $20,000 from a political action committee that was linked to Orange County Sheriff John Mina. His plea deal included being placed on a three-year supervised probation. The judge also withheld adjudication, meaning he did not get a criminal record.

Joel Greenberg has now become involved in the case in hopes of reducing his own sentence during his separate criminal case. The former tax collector is working with the police to provide information on multiple cases to attempt to receive a lesser sentence.

Greenberg participated in an interview regarding the ghost candidate case, which resulted in a 119-page transcript. He is considered a “category C witness” meaning he will not have to testify but is providing information to the police.

Fraud Charges in Florida

There are various types of fraud charges in Florida, which can range from the following:

The penalties for fraud can vary depending on the type of fraud charge, just as the defenses can vary. The best way to figure out what defense works for your case is to work with a skilled defense attorney in your area. You can read more about fraud on our page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Florida

If you or a loved one has been accused of a fraud crime, it is important to seek out legal help. A guilty conviction can lead to harsh consequences that include a criminal record, expensive fines, and potential jail time. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients across the state for various charges. We vow to stand by your side and fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message for a free consultation today.

Written by Jesus Lozano

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