The man accused of extorting Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has been indicted by a grand jury and arrested in connection to a scheme to defraud a victim, according to the Justice Department.
Stephen Alford, 62, was taken into custody on Tuesday and faces several counts of wire fraud and attempted prevention of seizure of an electronic device to obtain the money from victim, “D.G.,” according to court documents.
The DOJ did not specify who the victim was, but the initials match Gaetz’s father, Don Gaetz.
The indictment says Alford allegedly ran a scheme from March 16 to April 7 to extort $25 million from “D.G.” in exchange for the release of “R.L.” from captivity in Iran.
Another unnamed person involved in the scheme, dubbed “Person A,” brought up a “current federal investigation” involving a family member of “D.G.” and promised to help secure a presidential pardon for the family member.
The family member in question appears to be Matt Gaetz, who has been the subject of a sex-trafficking investigation. He has denied wrongdoing and said the allegations of sex trafficking were part of the extortion scheme.
In March, Matt Gaetz provided documentation purporting to show former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent offering to Don Gaetz “a plan that can make [Matt Gaetz’s] future legal and political problems go away.”
Kent also proposed a plan to rescue Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran several years ago. The documents show Alford was also a part of the conversations between Kent and Don Gaetz.
Matt Gaetz said the grand jury indictment proved he was telling the truth, and he vowed to find out who else worked with Kent and Alford.
Alford was indicted today. Those he was working with to extort me on a pile of lies should be next. pic.twitter.com/7XGGXINGcR
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) August 31, 2021
It is not clear whether this will affect the federal government’s investigation into Matt Gaetz, which is still ongoing.