Another day, another set of criminal charges for George Santos. Republicans refuse to get rid of him, preferring instead to let the twice indicted criminal fraudster stay in the House of Representatives.
Federal prosecutors hit Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., with 23 additional charges Tuesday, including allegations of identity theft and that he charged a supporter’s credit card in excess of the supporter’s contribution and then transferred the money to his personal bank account.
Prosecutors said Santos faces “one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud” in a superseding indictment filed Tuesday.
“As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign. Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen,” Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.
Santos declined to comment at the Capitol late Tuesday, saying, “I have not had access to my phone.”
Prosecutors said in a news release that the scheme included falsely claiming that relatives of Santos and his then-campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, had donated big bucks to his campaign to make it appear that he was raising more money than he actually was in order to qualify for assistance from the national party.
“To create the public appearance that his campaign had met that financial benchmark” for additional funds from the Republican Party “and was otherwise financially viable, Santos and Marks agreed to falsely report to the FEC that at least 10 family members of Santos and Marks had made significant financial contributions to the campaign when Santos and Marks both knew that these individuals had neither made the reported contributions nor given authorization for their personal information to be included in such false public reports.”
He is also alleged to have been involved in a credit card scheme in which the campaign would charge contributors’ credit cards repeatedly and above FEC individual contribution limits.
“For example, in December 2021, one contributor (the ‘Contributor’) texted Santos and others to make a contribution to his campaign, providing billing information for two credit cards,” prosecutors said.
“In the days after he received the billing information, Santos used the credit card information to make numerous contributions to his campaign and affiliated political committees in amounts exceeding applicable contribution limits, without the Contributor’s knowledge or authorization,” they said.
On another occasion, he allegedly “charged $12,000 to the Contributor’s credit card, ultimately transferring the vast majority of that money into his personal bank account.”
Prosecutors also shed light on a mysterious $500,000 loan Santos said he gave to his campaign, alleging that it was fake loan and that Santos “had less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts” at the time.
In an interview with WABC radio of New York City last year, Santos said that loan and others came from money “I paid myself” through his company, the Devolder Organization.
Marks pleaded guilty last week to some of the same conduct involving false FEC filings that Santos was charged with Tuesday, including the allegations about the family members.
Santos was charged this year 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 U.S. House of Representatives. He has pleaded not guilty.
Santos, who is in his first term, first came under scrutiny late last year before he was even sworn in when The New York Times published a bombshell investigation indicating that much of his résumé appeared to have been manufactured, including claims that he owned numerous properties, was previously employed by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and had graduated from Baruch College.