A Florida man recently pleaded guilty to one charge of wire fraud after trying to get $25 million from the family of Representative Matt Gaetz, federal prosecutors said.
Stephen Alford, 62, went to federal court and admitted to constructing an extortion plot against Don Gaetz, the senator’s wealthy father, and also making promises that he couldn’t keep about getting a presidential pardon for Gaetz, who has been connected to a sex-trafficking investigation.
The announcement released by the Justice Dept. marks a turning point as Alford entered a not guilty plea in the beginning. A tampering with evidence charge was tossed out.
Alford’s sentencing is scheduled for February 16 before District Judge Rodgers. He could receive up to 20 years of prison time followed by a supervised release. He might also have to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
Alford, who has previously been convicted of fraud and received a prison sentence, allegedly was over the scheme’s progress from March 16 to April 7 and supplied a person identified as “Person A” with Don Gaetz telephone number to talk about the release of “R.L.” from being held captive in Iran.
R.L. is thought to be Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who had went missing in Iran back in 2007. Levinson’s family stated in March 2020 they think he is dead.
Matt Gaetz shared documents, including an email, a typed document and text message screenshots with the Washington Examiner showing former AF intelligence OFF Bob Kent presenting to Don Gaetz “a plan that could make Matt Gaetz’s future political and legal issues go away.”
Kent confirmed the documentation was authentic but denied it was a plot to extort Gaetz. “I never threatened him. As a Matter of fact, it was the exact opposite. I informed him if he chooses not to help us, he won’t ever hear from me again,” Kent claimed, in an April 5 interview.
Senator Gaetz confirmed in March reports that he was being federally investigated through a connection to a sex trafficking investigation, but he denied any wrongdoing. He also stated that his father, shortly after the pardon deal had been offered to him, was cooperating with the FBI and was actively “wearing a wire” when in contact with the alleged schemers.
Author: Steven Sinclaire