(FreedomBeacon.com)- The person who allegedly tried to extort Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and is family has been arrested by the Department of Justice.
On Tuesday, Stephen Alford, a real estate developer in Florida, was arrested for his role in trying to set up a scheme to collect $25 million from the family of Gaetz. In exchange, he promised Gaetz’s father, Don, that President Joe Biden would issue a pardon for Gaetz that would prevent an investigation into the representative over sex trafficking from every happening.
Alford and his business associate said they’d be able to get Biden to agree to the pardon as long as Gaetz’s family gave them $25 million. They’d then use that money to secure the release of an American citizen who was currently being held in Iran as a hostage.
When the pair reached out to Gaetz’s family to blackmail them, the Florida representative already knew he was being investigated by federal authorities for his potential role in paying for sex with a 17-year-old girl.
When this happened, Don reached out to the FBI. Through an investigation, the FBI determined that Alford and the others involved in the scheme falsely represented that they had the ability to secure the pardon they were promising.
Gaetz, who was a strong ally and supporter of former President Donald Trump, tried unsuccessfully to secure a pardon from Trump before he left the White House.
Alford was claiming that he would free former FBI agent Robert Levinson from custody in Iran with the money. In 2007, Levinson went missing in the country while he was on a mission for the CIA that was unauthorized.
Members of the Trump administration told the Levinson family in 2020 that U.S. intelligence members believed their loved one actually died while being held captive.
Alford is being charged in the Northern District of Florida in Jacksonville by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is facing charges of wire fraud for his role in making those false claims to Gaetz’s father. He’s also facing a charge of trying to destroy or damage his iPhone when agents were conducting a search of his property that was authorized by a court back in April.
According to court documents, Alford and the others involved in the scheme first reached out to Don Gaetz in March. At that particular time, Gaetz himself had been made aware that an investigation into his actions had begun, but the information hadn’t yet been made public.
The court documents didn’t explain how Alford or his associates knew about the investigation.
It wasn’t until March 30 that the New York Times reported that Gaetz was being investigated for possibly paying a 17-year-old girl to travel with him and then had sex with her.
Gaetz hasn’t been charged with any crime as of yet. One of his allies, though — Joel Greenberg — has pleaded guilty to paying that girl for sex. He also told federal investigators that he saw Gaetz have sex with her as well.