Matt Gaetz says thousands of dollars to shut down yacht with his fiancee ‘are missing’
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who has blamed extortionists for his spate of sex scandals, now says “malicious actors” stole more than $ 150,000 from him while he was trying to buy a boat.
A spokesperson for Mr. Gaetz says WFLA that a large sum of money “went missing” after Congressman and his fiancée, Ginger Luckey, attempted to buy a $ 155,000 yacht named Ol Pappy.
“Representative Gaetz and Ms. Luckey have been the target of financial crime,” the spokesperson said said to the station, adding that the congressman has been “targeted by malicious actors, first domestic and now foreign”.
The spokesperson did not say how much money was lost, but said “federal law enforcement” was investigating the case. The FBI declined the WFLA’s request for comment.
Sources at the St. Petersburg marina where Ol Pappy is moored say the boat was suddenly renamed “Thirsty” in late April, around the time Mr Gaetz’s purchase of the vessel was supposed to close.
“A bit premature without the ownership of the boat,” said Jon Golly, a boat owner at the same marina who says he saw Mr Gaetz and Ms Luckey as they inspected the yacht.
Mr. Gaetz is already mired in controversy. The Justice Department is now several months into its investigation into whether the congressman hired women for sex across state lines, which could potentially have violated sex trafficking laws. He is also investigating whether Mr Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him.
Mr. Gaetz has vehemently denied these allegations and has not been charged with any crime.
“Over the past few weeks, my family and I have been the victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $ 25 million while threatening to smear my name,” the congressman said in a series of reports. tweets when the investigation first came to light. .
However, the investigation appears to be approaching Mr. Gaetz’s most intimate circle. The congressman’s ex-girlfriend is reportedly now cooperating with the Justice Department, and her friend, former Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg has reached a plea deal over his own accusations of soliciting relationships sex with a minor.
None of this appears to have held back Mr Gaetz, who is currently traveling on a nationwide tour and recently announced he would run for president in 2024 if Donald Trump does not.