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Tax office: Joel Greenberg searched Florida database containing personal information on residents

An investigation is ongoing into who and what Greenberg searched, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, appeared to have performed "multiple" searches on people using a state database containing personal information, an official confirmed to 10 Tampa Bay.

Those alleged searches were done using Florida’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database, known as DAVID, said Alan Byrd, a spokesperson for the Tax Collector's Office.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported on the discovery Wednesday evening.

The DAVID system gives users access to every Florida driver’s license number, address, signature, medical and disability information, Social Security number, date of birth, vehicle information, and emergency contact information. 

Greenberg pleaded guilty in May to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking with a child, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and stalking. He is an ex-associate of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who investigators are looking at as to whether he paid underage girls or offered them gifs in exchange for sex, The Associated Press reports.

An investigation is ongoing into who and what Greenberg searched, Byrd said in an emailed statement.

"The tax collector’s office is taking every step possible to protect the innocent victims of the former office holder’s criminal activities and is exploring the next steps after making this discovery this week," Byrd said.

10 Investigates showed in our November 2020 story, "Abuse of Access," how some government workers, including law enforcement officers, were abusing their access to sensitive personal information contained in DAVID. 

DAVID is meant to be a tool for government agencies and law enforcement officers to confirm information about Florida drivers, but 10 Investigates discovered some government employees were using the database to gather information for personal reasons. 

More than 900 state and local workers have gotten caught misusing that access since 2015, some using it to track their former romantic partners.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in response to 10 Investigates' story, which will require officers to get training on how to use state databases appropriately and will quadruple penalties for government workers who misuse electronic databases from $500 to $2,000.

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