- In March, Rep. Matt Gaetz said his family was being extorted after others learned of a probe into him.
- The DOJ is investigating allegations that Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.
- On Tuesday, a Florida man was indicted for trying to defraud the Gaetz family.
A Florida man was arrested and charged for trying to defraud the family of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of $25 million over his sexual assault allegation.
The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that between March 16 and April 7, Stephen Alford, 62, “is alleged to have been involved in a scheme to obtain money based upon false promises or guarantees he made to the victim that Alford could deliver a Presidential Pardon for a family member of the victim.”
The NWF daily news reported that Alford is a Florida real estate developer and convicted felon.
In late March, the Department of Justice said it was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, which would violate federal sex-trafficking laws. He has denied the allegations and no charges have been filed against him.
At the same time, Gaetz said his family was being extorted by two former government officials: former Air Force Intelligence officer Bob Kent and former federal prosecutor David McGee, who had learned about the DOJ probe.
The court document said that Alford had created a letter called “Project Homecoming” which laid out a scheme to extort $25 million from the GOP Reps’ father. According to the DOJ, Alford then gave the letter to someone identified as “Person A” to discuss with D.G., or Don Gaetz.
Politico reported that Person A is Kent.
Person A met with Don Gaetz and spoke with him about the letter, according to the court document. Alford then met with Don Gaetz to further talk about the scheme, which included Alford getting a Presidential pardon for Rep. Gaetz and locating and releasing a person called R.L., the court document said.
The Times identified R.L. as Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who has been missing since 2007. In March 2020, officials and Levinson’s family said they believed he died while imprisoned in Iran.
The court documents said Alford told Don Gaetz he had to transfer $25 million into the trust accounts of a law firm only identified as “Law Firm A.” The money was to be used to release Levinson, and that would get Rep. Gaetz a pardon.
Alford falsely said he could get a pardon for Rep. Gaetz, even telling Don Gaetz he would take him “by the hand to see the President of the United States,” according to the court document.
The court documents said Alford then told Don Gaetz he negotiated the price down to $15.5 million which required him to initially pay $1 million in cash and put $4.5 million into the account of “Attorney A,” who Politico identified as McGee.
Politico reported that Kent said he was introduced to Alford by McGee, who was his lawyer in the past.
Alford faces charges of wire fraud and destruction of property subject to a seizure warrant, for destroying an iPhone during a seizure of property search, the court documents said.
In a tweet, Rep. Gaetz said he’d been “proven right.”
“They tried to extort me on a pile of lies. Alford wasn’t acting alone — he had help from people with strong ties to the federal government. There is much more to this attempt to destroy me,” he said.
—Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) August 31, 2021
Insider was unable to reach Rep. Gaetz for comment at the time of publication, but his spokesman Harlan Hill told Politico that “the release of the Alford tapes will further exculpate Rep. Gaetz and implicate those with long-standing links to the federal government.”