February 22, 2024
A Florida man who pleaded guilty in an extortion plot to extort $25 million from the family of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) last November was sentenced to 63 months behind bars on Monday.

A Florida man who pleaded guilty in an extortion plot to extort $25 million from the family of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) last November was sentenced to 63 months behind bars on Monday.

Stephen Alford’s sentencing will be followed by three years of supervised release. Alford, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in the scheme and confessed to participating in the scheme, which involved false promises that he could help Gaetz obtain a presidential pardon amid a sex trafficking investigation.

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“Intended loss does not fall within the bounds of reasonable interpretation for the term loss,” federal Judge Casey Rodgers wrote, per the Northwest Florida Daily News. “Alford’s objection to the use of intended loss to determine his offense level under [sentencing guidelines] is sustained.”

Rodgers also granted Alford credit for the time he has already served. The sentencing is considerably lighter than the up to 14 years of prison could have faced for the scheme. His sentencing had been delayed about five times, WEAR-TV reported.

Alford sought the $25 million during a scheme between March 16 and April 7 of last year in which he sought to secure the release of “R.L.” from captivity in Iran. R.L. is thought to refer to former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing since his visit to Iran in 2007. His family members have maintained they believe he is dead.

Gaetz’s father made a fortune through Vitas Healthcare, a hospice care provider he helped found. The family is estimated to have a $30 million net worth, according to Forbes.

This is the third time Alford is going to prison since 2006, Northwest Florida Daily News reported.

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Gaetz publicly divulged last year that he was under federal investigation in connection to a sex trafficking inquiry but has insisted he did nothing wrong.

Gaetz reportedly delivered testimony in the sex trafficking inquiry in January. The inquiry began after his associate, Joel Greenberg, was slapped with charges of sex crimes, including the trafficking of a minor.

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