Federal prosecutors on Tuesday hit scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) with 10 new criminal charges, including for charging at least $44,800 to an unaware campaign donor who had texted him billing information for two credit cards. In fact, Santos charged the credit cards of donors "repeatedly, without their authorization," per the indictment, and funneled at least $11,000 of such unauthorized donations into his own personal account, according to the superseding indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York.
Prosecutors charged Santos with 13 counts in May for various alleged campaign violations, including wire fraud, theft of public funds, money laundering, and lying on federal disclosure forms. He pleaded not guilty. The new charges add aggravated identity theft and other alleged crimes.
Santos, 35, reiterated Tuesday that he has no plans to resign from Congress or end his reelection campaign.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
The 23 charges against Santos "seem vastly different from the typical corruption cases that ensnare politicians," The New York Times noted. "Many of those have hinged on intricate quid pro quos and complex legal questions about the nature of a political bribe," but the crimes ascribed to Santos "have more in common with those of a run-of-the-mill grifter."
Santos has acknowledged being a serial fabulist about many aspects of his life and work. The alleged schemes that landed him in court were aimed at inflating the donations to his campaign to meet a Republican National Committee threshold for additional support and give himself the illusion of momentum. His campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty last week to reporting an entirely made-up $500,000 loan from Santos to his campaign, at a time prosecutors said he had "less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts." Marks implicated Santos in her admitted crimes, putting pressure on him to agree to a plea deal. He is due in court on Oct. 27.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.