Author: Jan Wolf | Reuters
WASHINGTON-On Tuesday, federal prosecutors accused a man in Florida of trying to defraud US Rep. Matt Gates’ father Don Gates of 25 million US dollars. Criminal investigation related.
In a newly opened indictment, prosecutors accused 62-year-old Stephen Alford of contacting Gaetz’s father and demanding $25 million. The congressman is currently under criminal investigation, accusing him of having sex with a minor. Prosecutors claimed that Alford falsely claimed that he could help Gates obtain a pardon from former President Donald Trump.
The indictment did not directly mention the troubled pro-Trump congressman or his father, a former health care executive who also served as the president of the Florida Senate. But this year Gaetz published documents showing a blackmail plot against him, this so-called plot was widely reported this year.
According to news reports and a law enforcement source who spoke with Reuters, federal investigators are seeking to determine whether Gates had sex with a 17-year-old girl. He has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Federal prosecutors stated that Alford has been detained and it is not clear whether he has hired a lawyer.
In an interview with the Northwest Florida Daily News earlier this year, Alford did not deny that contact with the wealthy Gates family was for money. But he said that he and his colleagues are seeking to cooperate with Gaetzes to rescue the CIA agent Robert Levinson who went missing in 2007.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida. The office stated in a press release that Alford will face up to 25 years in prison for the alleged crimes.