Investigators are investigating whether a Florida Republican was in a relationship with a woman who started at age 17 and whether her involvement with other young women breaks federal sexual trafficking and prostitution laws, according to the source And another person gave information on the matter.
Sources said investigators are also alleging from witnesses and other evidence that Getz may have used cash and drugs in his dealings with the women.
Getz has denied the allegations and tried to portray a sex trafficking investigation involving an alleged extortion plot against him. People briefed on the case say investigators believe the extortion claims are linked to the investigation of Gatz’s alleged alleged sex crimes for months.
According to sources familiar with the case, the Getz investigation is still in its early stages.
A lawyer for Getz had no comment.
Getz information made available to investigators last year
The Gates investigation began in the months following the conclusion of the Trump-era Justice Department under then Attorney General William Burr and was initially part of a broader investigation into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician, Joel Greenberg.
The Times reviewed receipts from Apple Pay and the mobile payment cash app showing payments being made from Getz to Greenberg and then to one of the women, as well as payment to a different woman from Greenberg. The women had told their friends that the payment was for sex with Getz and Greenberg, two people familiar with the conversation told the newspaper.
Gaetz and Greenberg were asked to meet at specific locations and times with the willingness to pay, along with the money that women receive during encounters in 2019 and 2020, according to interviews and messages reviewed by the Times.
In a statement to the Times, Getz’s office said: “Matt Getz completely denied all the hate allegations.” Greenberg’s lawyer declined to comment for the Times.
In addition, information that could link Getz to a bogus ID scheme at the center of the case against Greenberg was presented to federal investigators early last year, according to two others familiar with the case.
At the meeting, which had not been previously reported, a witness provided evidence linking Gatz to former tax collector, Greenberg, in Seminal County, Florida, who was arrested last year on a charge that included sexual trafficking of a minor. And included the inclusion of fake girls.
Greenberg is set to go to trial later this year on charges of ID and sex trafficking, along with allegations that he piled a former political rival.
News of the meeting provided details about the Department of Justice’s initial awareness of Congress’ relationship with Greenberg.
According to one of the people familiar with the matter, an employee of the Tax Collector’s office saw Greenberg and Getz on internal office surveillance video through a driver’s license on a weekend evening.
In a text message exchange shared with CNN stating that the source was between Greenberg and the employee, Greenberg confirmed that he was in office “showing Congressman Getz what our operation looked like.”
That witness shared information with prosecutors from the local U.S. Attorney’s Office and US Secret Service agents investigating Greenberg’s case in January 2020, a person familiar with the case said.
The Secret Service regularly investigates federal financial crimes. There is no indication that the ID seen in the video was used for unlawful purposes.
As head of the tax collector’s office, Greenberg used to have a driver’s license that people would surrender to the office. According to court documents in his case, Greenberg allegedly used a surrender license to create a fake ID.
In an August indictment, federal prosecutors accused Greenberg of illegally using a motor vehicle database, including some people who obtained personal information about her involvement in a “sugar daddy ‘relationship” with Greenberg ” was. He is also accused of trafficking a child between the ages of 14 and 17 and unlawfully obtaining a photograph of that child and the driver’s identification number.
Two people familiar with the matter said that a weekend visit to the Congress office took place in 2019.
Lawyers for Getz and Greenberg declined to comment on the information presented in the meeting with both investigators, as did a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office at Tampa and the Secret Service.
David Shortell from Tampa, Florida reported.
CNN’s Paul Leblanc and Kellyanne Pollentz contributed to this report.