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Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was arrested on federal criminal charges on May 10, in relation to an alleged scheme involving fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.
The 13-count indictment, unsealed on Wednesday, charges Santos, 34, with defrauding prospective political supporters by laundering funds to pay for his personal expenses and illegally receiving unemployment benefits while he was employed.
He is also accused of making false statements to the House of Representatives about his assets, income, and liabilities.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement.
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself. He 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,” he added.
The first-term congressman was arrested on Wednesday morning and is due to appear at a Long Island district court in the afternoon.
According to the indictment (pdf), Santos allegedly deceived his supporters into donating to a company under the guise that the funds would be used to support his campaign. However, the report indicates that he used the money for personal expenditures, including luxury designer clothing and credit card payments.
Confirmation of the federal investigation came from former staffer Derek Myers: “I can publicly confirm that during my brief time in the Congressman’s office I had met secretly with agents from @FBI in an effort to work as a confidential informant and human asset against the Congressman during my course of employment in his office,” he posted on Twitter.
The document also cites a reportedly fraudulent June 2020 application for unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act.
Santos is said to have received unemployment insurance through the New York State Department of Labor by falsely claiming to have been unemployed in March 2020, benefits that he received through April 2021.
Santos was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of unlawful monetary transactions over $10,000, one count of theft of public money, and two counts of making a false statement on his House Disclosure Report.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did not say that Santos must leave the House of Representatives as the latter faces criminal charges from the Biden administration’s Justice Department.
“I’ll look at the charges,” McCarthy told reporters on May 9, during a press conference mainly focused on debt ceiling negotiations with President Joe Biden.
In February of this year, The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) sent an official inquiry to Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), asking him to declare whether he is running for reelection in 2024.
The letter (pdf) asserted that Santos has “accepted contributions and/or made expenditures in support of your 2024 candidacy in excess of $5,000, thus meeting the definition of ‘candidate’ per Federal Election Campaign Laws.”
The FEC’s more recent letter was sent to Santos’s office just days after he was accused of sexual harassment and ethics violations by a former volunteer.
A letter (pdf) was posted to Twitter on Feb. 3. by Myers, who accused Santos of both sexual misconduct and ethics violations, which allegedly took place during the days Myers worked as a volunteer for the congressman.
Santos’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’s request for comment.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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