Suspect pleads guilty in $25 million scheme to defraud Gaetz family

Florida
Matt Gaetz

FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2019, file photo Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., gives his opening statement during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The man accused of trying to extort $25 million out of a Gaetz family has pleaded guilty.

Stephen Alford, 62, went to former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and told him he needed $25 million in order to free an Iranian prisoner.

Once that happened, Alford claimed he could then arrange a presidential pardon for Gaetz’s son, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Niceville), who is allegedly the subject of a federal investigation.

Don Gaetz called in the authorities who placed an undercover FBI agent in the midst of a series of meetings between Alford and Don Gaetz in March and April of this year.

Alford pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 16.

The investigation into Matt Gaetz is ongoing.

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