The Matthew Greene no one knew: ‘Proud Boy’ fought for his country then turned against it
Syracuse, NY – Matthew J. Greene spent six years in the National Guard hunting and fighting terrorists.
Then the man from Syracuse became one, according to federal prosecutors.
Greene, 33, has been accused of coordinating and leading the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to overthrow the government and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
The man who fought in the deserts of Afghanistan went to Washington, DC to prepare for another war.
When it searched his home, the FBI found a bulletproof helmet in the backpack he was wearing in the Capitol. The FBI found records that Greene purchased 250 rounds of ammunition for an AR15 assault rifle on December 30th. The ammunition was loaded into a military-style vest.
And agents found encrypted conversations in which they heard the voice of a man who once fought for his country and now fought against it:
“Remember how we hunted (Taliban), they hunt us the same way. Remember how the (Taliban) faced and defeated us. Use this tactic, “Greene wrote in conversation with another prosecutor’s office known as a” co-worker. ” Greene continued, “Trust your gut. If it tells you that this person is weak and folds under pressure, get them out of your life right away. Be willing to do uncomfortable things. “
Greene served in the National Guard from 2008 to 2014. His last assignment was with the Rhode Island National Guard, where he was a human intelligence collector with the military police, according to the guard.
He is one of dozen of the 300 accused in the Capitol Rebellion who had military ties. So significant was the trend that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approached it for confirmation at his hearing.
Dominic Pezzola, one of the men alleged to have worked with Greene to plan the attack, is a retired Marine. Prosecutors said Pezzola and Greene were members of the Proud Boys, a far right, extremist hate group.
Prosecutors described a photo of the two former military officers holding a protective shield that they had stolen from the police and used to break a window in the Capitol.
Greene lived in two worlds that only collided when people learned of his arrest.
He was the chief technology officer and graphic designer for a Hollywood company that he helped found. He was respected by his peers and earned a six-figure salary. He worked on “The Mandalorian” and NBA 2K20. Hollywood friends were stunned to learn of his arrest. Are you sure it’s the right mate, they asked?
But Greene, the artist, was also Greene, the proud first-degree boy. He was planning a riot, prosecutors said. He supplied his home with ammunition and attended meetings of the Central New York chapter of the far-right hate group before heading to DC to storm the Capitol.
FBI agents found his pin with the group’s rooster badge on it when they ransacked his home.
When a friend asked how he was on January 6th, the prosecutor replied: Greene replied, “I’m fine. We took the Capitol. “
Greene, who graduated from East Syracuse-Minoa High School in 2005, studied graphic design in Florida after high school. He joined the Guard in 2008, but his career has always been his art. During his service he worked for design and animation companies. He posted to Afghanistan in 2010.
While Greene was working on high profile projects in Hollywood, these are not mentioned on his LinkedIn profile. But he describes his tour in Afghanistan down to the specific weapons that were recovered during a raid.
Greene’s completion of basic combat training was noted in The Post-Standard. His only assignment was in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.
As a collector of human intelligence, he worked to get details about what the enemy was up to.
The guard checked Greene’s service and rank, but the only details from his time in the desert came from his own account.
He said he wrote 104 reports and helped kill or capture 10 Taliban members. Greene described one of his combat missions as follows: “I have also conducted multiple combat missions with a 100% success rate in support of the 1-113 cavalry. Namely Operation First Snow, during which I personally arrested two known Taliban members and Operation Gold Dust for the recovery of about $ 7,000 worth of illegal weapons including, but not limited to, grenades, land mines and rocket-propelled missiles “, he wrote.
The highest level Greene achieved was the specialist, a junior rank.
When Greene returned home from Afghanistan, there was a message on the front page of his mother.
Denise Greene admitted stealing more than $ 100,000 from Examgen, an educational software and publishing company in Syracuse. As an accountant, she wrote checks on herself. Public records dating back decades show the family’s struggle with debt during their son’s school years and beyond.
Denise Greene served a little over two years in state prison.
When sentenced, she made a plea for leniency about her son’s military service and pointed to difficulties her son had in adapting to life outside a war zone.
“My son has just come home from Afghanistan and we think he’s with me all the time because he’s in a war zone,” Greene told the judge in 2011, according to court records. “And he calls me every day and tells me things to tell me. It is very important for him to communicate with me because it is difficult to communicate with his father. “
Denise Greene and her husband Donald were both online at a trial for their son on Monday.
During that hearing, the judge cited Greene’s post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health as reasons that he should continue to be incarcerated until he is tried. He did not discuss either topic in detail.
Greene’s wife, Jennifer Greene, was online for the hearing. She left her camera on so her husband could see her face. When the judge decided to deny Matthew Greene’s request for release, his wife blinked back tears. Your dog poked his face into the camera.
Matthew Greene’s face was covered with a mask; He wore orange prison scrubs.
The two married in 2019; You don’t have any children. Jennifer Greene has an MBA and has worked as a loan officer.
The couple’s home on Burns Avenue in Eastwood, where FBI agents found a supply of ammunition and an illegal weapon on a secret shelf, is on their behalf. When they searched the house, the agents found a shelf that only fell when a special card was inserted. Then it opened to reveal an unregistered Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Last year, Greene made $ 254,000, according to court records. The Eastwood ranch home is worth $ 100,000, according to tax reports.
Until Saturday, he was the chief technology officer of Happy Mushroom, a digital media company he founded and owned with two college friends.
Greene attended Full Sail University’s graphic design program with Felix Jorge and Christopher Sosebee.
She described the company’s roots in a social media account: “We are a creative agency with a symbiotic team of internal and remote talent. Happy Mushroom Roots started out as a remote studio, with one founder living in the mountains of Big Bear, California, another in the Syracuse blizzards, and a third in the Hollyweird of LA. “
Happy Mushroom has around 80 employees. Most of them are in Hollywood. A handful of work in Syracuse in an office building in Franklin Square.
In recent years, the company has achieved a firm place in the big leagues with works of art in well-known projects such as “The Mandalorian” and the video game NBA 2K20.
After a reporter from Syracuse.com was contacted about Greene’s arrest, the company moved quickly to distance itself from Greene.
Happy Mushroom released a press release saying it fired Greene.
“We are very appalled that Mr. Greene has beliefs that contradict what Happy Mushroom stands for,” said Felix Jorge, CEO and Creative Director. “We have no tolerance for violence. We should all come together as a people to respect humanity. “
Those who knew the artist Greene were shocked by his different life.
A Hollywood director who had worked with Greene quickly returned a call to a reporter from Syracuse.com who wanted to talk about Greene. “I amazingly call him Matt behind his back,” said the director.
When he found out what the story was about, he gasped, wondering how it could be true because it had nothing to do with the Matt he knew. Then he asked not to be identified in the story. His Twitter feed has help for undocumented workers and where to find a free Impossible burger.
Marc Aubanel, director of digital arts and engineering at Louisiana State University, had just spoken to Greene in November for help with applying for a scholarship. Aubanel asked Greene if the university should offer more digital media courses.
Greene told him how Happy Mushroom used these skills while working on The Mandalorian. Greene was a speaker at the university’s gaming and digital art conference, RedStick.
Aubanel was also shocked. Greene was always ready to help, he said.
“He was level-headed, nice,” he said.
Another Greene appears to be speaking on the encrypted messages that prosecutors shared on Monday as they tried to convince the judge that Greene posed a threat to society.
“Everyone has to wake up and realize that no one is coming to save us… Our patriots are being imprisoned and labeled as terrorists, while the BLM can destroy cities without any effect. They come one by one for us until there is no more resistance, ”prosecutors said Greene texted a friend. “We stand together now or we end up separately in the gulag.”
On Monday in court, the judge ruled that Greene posed a threat to society. He remains in prison without being tied.
Marnie Eisenstadt writes about the people, public affairs, and the Syracuse City school district. Contact them anytime via email Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-2246.