George Santos faces 13-count indictment for alleged fraud
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was indicted Wednesday on charges related to alleged fraud and money laundering, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
Santos was arrested after surrendering to federal authorities, the DOJ said in a press release. He is facing 13 felony counts in total, including charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
The indictment alleges that Santos solicited at least $50,000 in donations to a fake super PAC, using these funds to purchase luxury goods for himself. He is also alleged to have committed wire fraud by telling potential donors their donations would only be used for his congressional campaign. There are also felony counts related to an alleged unemployment benefits scheme Santos undertook in 2020.
News of Santos' likely charges was first reported Tuesday. Following those reports, the congressmen told The Associated Press his indictment was "news to me. You're the first to call me about this."
The indictment "seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations," U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. Peace added that Santos "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." The DOJ will continue to "hold public officials accountable," he added.
Since taking office this past January, Santos has become infamous for admittedly lying about numerous aspects of his life and background. This includes false pretenses about having Jewish heritage, as well as his education and employment history. He is also facing charges in Brazil of alleged check fraud. Numerous politicians, including some Republicans, have called for Santos to step down, though he recently announced his campaign for re-election.