Rep. George Santos’ former campaign treasurer, who pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with the criminal case against her former boss, fabricated donations to make it appear as though the New York Republican had a much larger campaign haul, according to court documents.
Nancy Marks admitted that she made up campaign contributions from her family members and Santos’ to give the appearance in Federal Election Commission filings and to the GOP that the then-candidate had exceeded a specific threshold in 2021, the charging document against her said.
The campaign needed to show $250,000 in donations in a single quarter from third party contributors, but Marks “falsely reported” contributions from 10 family members, according to the charges against Marks.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said Thursday that “the purpose of the scheme was to ensure that the Candidate and his campaign qualified for a program administered by the national party committee, pursuant to which the national party committee would provide financial and logistical support to the Candidate and his campaign committee.”
The criminal information document also said Marks and Santos falsely reported to the FEC that Santos loaned the campaign significant sums of cash — including a $500,000 loan, when Santos neither made the loans nor had the money to do so.
The charging document further states that prosecutors have text messages between Marks and Santos, who is not named, but is referred to as “Co-Conspirator #1” and identified by his role as an official elected to represent New York’s Third Congressional District last year.
An attorney for Marks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.
Reached for comment Thursday, Santos spokeswoman Gabrielle Lipsy said, “Official offices cannot comment on these matters.”
In May, Santos pleaded not guilty to a 13-count federal indictment that charged him 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. Santos pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bond and on conditions that included the surrender of his passport and judicial approval for travel outside New York and Washington, D.C.
At the time, he called the charges “inaccurate” and said he would clear his name.
Earlier this year, the FEC requested information from the Santos campaign after a person listed as his campaign treasurer had denied he had taken the job.
“It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include the true, correct, or complete treasurer information” in a recent filing, said a letter from the FEC.
The letter was addressed to Thomas Datwyler, who the campaign had identified as the new treasurer in paperwork in January.
An attorney for Datwyler, however, told NBC News at the time that his client had never agreed to accept the position and had no intention of working for the campaign.
Santos first came under scrutiny last year after The New York Times published a bombshell investigation showing that much of his résumé appeared to have been fabricated, including claims that he owned numerous properties, was previously employed by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and had graduated from Baruch College. Santos responded days later by admitting he had embellished parts of his résumé, including information about his education and employment history. He has since faced repeated calls for his resignation.
Santos is due in court on Oct. 27 for a status conference. The conference was initially scheduled for Sept. 7, but prosecutors and Santos’ lawyers requested more time in part because “the parties have continued to discuss possible paths forward in this matter” and “wish to have additional time to continue those discussions,” sparking speculation about a possible plea deal.
Santos told CNN last month that he was not in discussions on any deal.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com