Crime

A Florida man’s Facebook messenger chat led to 72 counts of child pornography charges

Neil Greenberg
Neil Greenberg Broward Sheriff's Office

When Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators looked into the relationship between a 60-year-old escort website owner and a 17-year-old girl, they say they found a memory card of child pornography and evidence he paid at least $2,000 for sex with underage girls.

The discovery landed Neil Greenberg of Sunrise in jail, facing 36 counts of possessing child pornography, 36 counts of promoting child pornography, one count of unlawful sexual activity and one count of using a two-way device to facilitate a felony. As of Tuesday evening, he remained in Broward Main Jail on a $1,312,500 bond.

Greenberg first came to the attention of investigators with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in January. The U.S. Marshals Service reached out about a tip involving a 17-year-old girl living in a group home in Broward.

According to Greenberg’s arrest affidavit, an employee of the home said the girl had left her Facebook account open on a tablet and there was a conversation with the Facebook account neil.greenberg.98.

Investigators found Facebook messenger messages between the teen and Greenberg dating back to Sept. 11, 2018.

“It is apparent [the teen] and Greenberg know each other and Greenberg has paid for commercial sex acts from [the teen] in the past,” an investigator wrote in the report.

In the conversation between the teen and Greenberg, the teen asks Greenberg to pay for her phone in exchange for a “session,” according to the report. The teen also calls Greenberg out for having “unprotected sex” with her sister.

“It lasted less then a minute,” Greenberg replied, according to the report. “I took special medication. And I’ve been tested twice since then.”

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

In February, investigators received a search warrant to get access to Greenberg’s Facebook account and verified the conversation with the girl.

Investigators met with the 17-year-old in March. She told them she met Greenberg two years ago through her sister, who advertised on Greenberg’s escort website, www.independentgirls.com. The site, still operational as of Tuesday evening, advertises independent escorts, escort agencies and allows members to submit reviews of escorts.

“Over the course of two years, [the teen] engaged in about 20 ‘sessions’ with Greenberg,” an investigator wrote in the report. “Six to eight of the sessions were recorded by Greenberg with a camera.”

Investigators say Greenberg paid $200 to $300 per session, most of which occurred in his Sunrise home, according to the report. The teen, investigators say, was able to describe Greenberg’s home and bedroom.

On April 9, investigators showed up at Greenberg’s home, armed with a search warrant. The report says they found an SD card in a locked safe in the master bedroom closet.

The card had a folder with a name that was redacted and within that folder was another folder labeled “For Evidentiary Purposes ONLY.” There was a document in that folder titled “Read _this.”

The letter, an investigator said, was last modified in September 2013. In the letter, Greenberg says he kept videos “for the sole purpose that they may contain evidentiary value for me because of a dialogue contained may prove useful.”

“Since learning of [redacted]’s true age I decided it would be better if I did not delete them but instead put them offline where I could get them if it ever became necessary,” Greenberg wrote. “As far as I know there are no other videos on my Toshiba computer. I am in the process of checking my other machines. All videos with [redacted] will be immediately moved offline if and when they turn up.”

The letter continues to say that he never “knowingly downloaded or sought to acquire or view ANY sexually explicit material that contained any underage girl.”

“I have never knowingly had sexual relations with an underage girl,” the then-55-year-old wrote. “It is not something I am interested in and never have been. I have long maintained that I enjoy the company of young ladies, but 18 years old or older is just fine with me. They do not need to be any younger than that.”

In the folder, investigators say, were eight videos of Greenberg engaging in sexual acts with a 14- or 15-year-old girl. On the same card, according the report, there were two more folders with an additional 28 videos, last modified between April 2017 and November 2017. Those videos showed Greenberg having sex with a 16-year-old, investigators say.

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Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

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