Florida man Stephen Alford linked to alleged Getz plot, indicted in $ 25 million scheme

Florida man Stephen Alford linked to alleged Getz plot, indicted in $ 25 million scheme

Representative Matt Getz (R-FL) leaves the committee room during a hearing with the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems at the Rayburn House Office Building on the 14th May 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

A man at the center of an alleged extortion plot involving Representative Matt Gaetz and his family has been accused of being involved in a scheme to defraud a victim of $ 25 million, in part by making false promises. He can get the president’s pardon.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that a grand jury indicted Florida resident Stephen Alford, 62, with wire fraud under a pardon plan implemented between March 16 and April 7.

The grand jury indictment says Alford was also charged with a government attempt to prevent the seizure of his iPhone, which was signed by a US investigating judge on August 18.

Alford was arrested earlier Tuesday and first appeared in federal court, the North Florida District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. According to the prosecutor’s office, he faces up to 25 years in prison for the alleged crimes.

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Getz, R-Fla., A strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, is under investigation by the Department of Justice over whether the 39-year-old congressman has had sex with a girl age 17, The New York Times reported in March. .

Gaetz, as the report surfaced, linked this DOJ investigation to an alleged $ 25 million “organized criminal extortion” program against him and his father, Don Gaetz.

Getz has denied any wrongdoing. He was not charged with the crime.

An April 1 Times article, which described Alford as a real estate agent with a former fraud conviction, said he and a former Air Force intelligence officer named Robert Kent had taken an American hostage in Iran. Don Getz has been approached to provide funds for the rescue effort. .

He reportedly told Don Getz, 73, that securing that hostage, Robert Levinson, could help him secure a pardon for his son accused of federal crimes.

Don Getz then hired a lawyer and contacted the FBI, the Times reported. Kent has denied the allegations.

The grand jury indictment did not refer to Matt Getz, Don Getz, Levinson or Kent by their full names.

Instead, he said Alford gave “Person A” the “DG” phone number to “discuss the alleged release of RL from captivity in Iran and an alleged” ongoing federal investigation. “On the family member of DG A”. Given.

In a text message, “The CEO was informed that ‘Person A’s companion would see this” [Family Member A] receives leniency from the president, thus undermining all his legal problems, ”says the indictment.

Alford then wrote a letter titled “Project Homecoming,” which claimed to have been the subject of an “FBI investigation into various issues of public corruption and public integrity,” as well as requests for a “presidential pardon” regarding the family member A. had disappeared. According to the indictment, $ 25 million to “immediately fund the ‘release’ of RL.”

The letter reportedly stated that the money was to “be deposited into law firm A’s trust account.”

Alford’s letter also incorrectly asserted that his “” team was assured by the President “that he” would strongly consider “the” President’s leniency “” or that any investigation of “family member A” from the Justice Department will seek annulment if RL is released from prison, according to the indictment.

Alford also falsely told DG: “I assure you that [Family Member A] solve his problems “and said he could” guarantee “that this family member” does not go to jail “.

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