Well known liar Rep. George Santos, who gives other Republicans a bad name, was arrested Wednesday morning after federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against the New York lawmaker following an investigation into his financial disclosures and alleged false claims.
The 13-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charges Santos with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
“He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives,” Peace added.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, who worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate Santos, added that in addition to allegedly collecting unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress, he was believed to have “pocketed campaign contributions and used that money to pay down personal debts and buy designer clothing.”
Santos will be arraigned at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, on Wednesday afternoon to answer to the charges. Close sources claim that Santos is expected to plead not guilty.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told CNN on Tuesday that he will examine the charges before deciding on whether to remove Santos from Congress.
Santos has generated substantial controversy since his election to Congress in November. It was discovered that many of his claims he made on the campaign trail and on his resume were unsubstantiated.
Santos misled voters about his level of education, previous jobs and family ties to the Holocaust, news that earned him bipartisan condemnation for misrepresenting himself.
Santos went on to acknowledge that he tends to use embellishment when presenting himself. This included beefing up his resume and claiming he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, as he had previously asserted, and about attending Baruch College and New York University (he did not attend college).
However, in the weeks and months that followed, more mysteries cropped up, like the source of his income, which has seemingly grown by hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years.
In 2020, when he launched his first run for the House, Santos stated in a financial disclosure that he had no assets and no earned income. Yet, his financial situation appeared to have markedly improved by the time he decided to launch a second run for the House in 2022, with Federal Election Commission filings showing he lent at least $700,000 to his campaign, and $27,000 to his political action committee.
Santos has said the funds given to his campaign came from his company, the Devolder Organization. However, it was reported that it was organized just one month before the Republican declared his latest candidacy in 2021.
Other allegations have also cropped up, such as claims that Santos once scammed a Navy veteran out of $3,000 meant for his ailing service dog.
In January, Santos told colleagues he would temporarily resign from his assignments on the Small Business and Science Committees while various investigations into his past play out.
Despite the ongoing investigations, the freshman lawmaker filed paperwork for his 2024 reelection campaign in March to keep his District 3 seat.