George Santos Faces New Criminal Charges Over Campaign Funds

(Bloomberg) — US Representative George Santos, the embattled New York Republican indicted five months ago for fraud and money laundering, was hit with new charges including making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and running up unauthorized expenses on his campaign contributors’ credit cards.

Most Read from Bloomberg

A revised indictment of Santos, 35, was unsealed Tuesday that adds 10 counts alleging that he engaged in two separate fraud schemes tied to his 2022 candidacy for the US House.

The new charges follow a May indictment accusing Santos of stealing public funds and lying on federal disclosure forms, among other allegations. The first-term lawmaker, who’s running for re-election next year and denies wrongdoing, faces as many as 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him, according to prosecutors in the office of Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace.

The tightening net around Santos comes as his vote may be critical to elect a new House speaker after last week’s abrupt ouster of Kevin McCarthy, and other matters. With only 221 Republicans in the House, the party can’t afford to lose many votes in its effort to rally around a successor, in a process that could take several rounds of voting.

In one scheme, according to prosecutors, Santos and his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, conspired to qualify the candidate and his campaign for a program administered by the national party committee which provided him with financial and logistical support. Marks pleaded guilty to federal charges last week.

The US said Santos falsely reported to the FEC that at least 10 members of his family and Marks’s had made donations to the campaign of at least $250,000, knowing the national party committee relied on FEC fundraising data to evaluate candidates’ qualification for the program. No such contributions were made, nor had anyone given their authorization, the US said.

Read More: George Santos’s Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring With Him

Prosecutors said Santos and Marks agreed to falsely report to the FEC that the candidate had loaned his campaign $500,000 when he had less than $8,000 in his personal bank account. The alleged fabrication ensured he met the necessary financial benchmarks to qualify for national party committee funds, the government said.

Santos was also charged in the amended indictment with engaging in a credit-card fraud scheme in which he allegedly stole the personal and financial information of contributors to his campaign. The US said Santos charged contributors’ credit cards repeatedly, without their authorization, including an attempt to make at least $44,800 in charges on one person’s account without their knowledge or permission.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to the original charges and has rebuffed requests to resign. His next court date is Oct. 27. Santos declined to comment on the new charges, as did his lawyer, Joseph Murray.

Santos was elected to a district that includes parts of Long Island and the New York City borough of Queens and took office despite fabricating much of what he had claimed about his education and career. He has rejected demands from both Democrats and Republicans that he resign after his lies were exposed.

–With assistance from Billy House and Steven T. Dennis.

(Updates with details of the new charges beginning in third paragraph.)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

Leave a Comment