Florida man sentenced for attempting to extort $25 million from Gaetz's father

Alford claimed he could clear Matt Gaetz if his father funded the rescue of an American hostage in Iran who is presumed to be dead

Updated: August 23, 2022 - 5:58pm

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A Florida man was sentenced to 5-plus years in federal prison for attempting to extort $25 million from Don Gaetz, former Florida state Senate president and father of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The sentence handed down Monday follow defendant Stephen Alford last year pleading guilty to the scheme.

In spring 2021, Alford told Don Gaetz that he could "guarantee" his son Matt Gaetz would avoid prison in connection to allegations that the Florida congressman committed sex crimes, court filings show.

Alford told Gaetz's father that President Biden would pardon the congressman or tell the Justice Department to end the investigation if the Gaetz family helped fund efforts to rescue Robert Levinson, an American hostage who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and is presumed to be dead, the court documents state.

Gaetz, who has not been charged in the probe, has denied any criminal involvement and called the allegations a "planted leak."

Alford, who is going to prison for the third time since 2006 over extortion-related efforts, will receive credit for time already served on the Gaetz changes and will have three years of probation after spending 63 months in prison, Northwest Florida Daily News reported.

The sentencing came one day before Florida's primary in which Gaetz, who represents the state's 1st Congressional District, faces two challengers.