Judge Drops Hammer on Man Who Tried to Extort Matt Gaetz, Sentences Him to 5 Years in Prison

A judge has dropped the hammer on a Florida man who was convicted of trying to extort Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his family.

Stephen Alford, a 63-year-old developer, was sentenced to more than five years in prison by District Court Judge Casey Rodgers.

Alford pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from a scheme to extort $25 million from the congressman’s father Don Gaetz.

Judge Rodgers sentenced Alford to more than five years in prison, 63 months, for his role in the ill-fated scheme.

Prosecutors had pushed for Alford, who has a long rap sheet, to serve between 11 and 14 years behind bars, however.

Gaetz said on social media around the time of the indictment: “Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.

“We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.

“The planted leak to the FBI tonight was intended to thwart that investigation.

“No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation.”

When Alford was indicted the Department of Justice issued a statement at the time that said:

“Stephen M. Alford, 62, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was indicted by a federal grand jury on counts of wire fraud and the attempted prevention of seizure of an electronic device, announced Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

“Alford was arrested on August 31, 2021, and made his initial appearance in federal court to face the charges.

“The indictment alleges that, between March 16, and April 7, 2021, Alford engaged in a scheme to defraud a victim out of $25 million.

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“As articulated in the indictment, Alford is alleged to have been involved in a scheme to obtain money based upon false promises or guarantees he made to the victim that Alford could deliver a Presidential Pardon for a family member of the victim.

“Alford is currently being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

“Alford faces up to 25 years imprisonment on the charged crimes.

“An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt.

“All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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