Developer indicted in scheme against Bilk Matt Gaetz's family

A Florida real estate developer was arrested Tuesday by the Justice Department for his role in a scheme to extract $ 25 million from the...


A Florida real estate developer was arrested Tuesday by the Justice Department for his role in a scheme to extract $ 25 million from the family of Representative Matt Gaetz in exchange for an alleged presidential pardon that would have ended an investigation on sex trafficking against Mr. Gaetz.

Real estate developer Stephen Alford and his business associate told Gaetz’s father Don that President Biden would forgive Mr. Gaetz, the Florida Republican and close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, s ‘They were giving them $ 25 million. to help secure the release of an American held hostage in Iran.

At the time of the openings, Matt Gaetz knew he was under investigation by federal authorities for paying a 17-year-old girl for sex.

Don Gaetz, a former president of the Florida State Senate, alerted the FBI, which later determined that Mr Alford and his associates were falsely claiming they could get the pardon.

Matt Gaetz had previously asked in vain for the pardon of Mr. Trump before Mr. Trump leaves office.

The man Mr Alford claimed he could free was Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007 on an unauthorized CIA mission. The Trump administration told Mr. Levinson’s family last year that the intelligence community believed he was dead. in captivity.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North Florida District in Jacksonville has charged Mr. Alford with wire fraud for making false statements to Don Gaetz and for attempting to damage or destroy his iPhone during the ‘a court-authorized search of his property in April. , according to court documents released Tuesday.

The arrest marks the latest development in a federal investigation that began over a year ago into Matt Gaetz – who has not been charged – and other Florida state politicians for their role in paying women for sex. One of Mr Gaetz’s allies, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to paying a 17-year-old girl for sex and told investigators he saw Mr Gaetz having sex with the same girl .

Mr Alford and his business partner first made overtures to Don Gaetz in late March, court documents show. At this point, Matt Gaetz had been told he was under investigation, but that had not yet been made public. The documents did not explain how Mr. Alford knew Mr. Gaetz was under investigation.

The New York Times reported on March 30 that Matt Gaetz was under investigation by the Justice Department as to whether he had sex with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him. Responding to questions asked at the time, Mr Gaetz admitted he was under investigation but said he was the target of an extortion scheme linked to Mr Levinson.

Mr Gaetz said Mr Alford, who had previously been convicted in an unrelated fraud scheme, and Robert Kent, a former Air Force intelligence officer who runs a consultancy firm, approached Don Gaetz on funding their efforts to locate Mr Levinson, saying that if his son played a role in helping secure Mr Levinson’s release he could receive a pardon from Mr Biden.

But to secure Mr Levinson’s release Mr Alford and Mr Kent needed millions of dollars, Mr Gaetz said. Don Gaetz informed the FBI of the openings and wore a wire to record his conversations with Mr Alford, Mr Gaetz said.

Mr Kent has denied the Gaetze’s claims, saying he has been made aware of rumors that Matt Gaetz may be in legal trouble. “I told him I wasn’t trying to extort, but if that was true he might be interested in doing something right,” Mr Kent said in an interview at the time.

Shortly after the Justice Department announced Mr Alford’s arrest on Tuesday, Mr Gaetz tweeted a message that he had told the truth when he disclosed the extortion plot in the spring and said said others should be charged in connection with the scheme.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Developer indicted in scheme against Bilk Matt Gaetz's family
Developer indicted in scheme against Bilk Matt Gaetz's family
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