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Congressman George Santos Charged With Defrauding Campaign Donors


US authorities accuse beleaguered Rep. George Santos of racking up numerous charges on the credit cards of campaign contributors in a variety of felony counts.

The Republican is facing 23 accusations, including wire fraud and identity theft, from the justice department.

He was also charged with lying to the Federal Election Commission as part of the action, which builds on an earlier indictment.

On the Tuesday-announced developments, Mr. Santos has not yet offered any commentary.

“Santos allegedly led multiple additional fraudulent criminal schemes, lying to the American public in the process,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith said in a statement.

“Anyone who attempts to violate the law as part of a political campaign will face punishment in the criminal justice system,” he added.

The accusations add to the 13 counts to which the New York lawmaker entered a not-guilty plea in May. He was charged with using campaign cash for personal needs and fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits while working.

At the time, Mr. Santos claimed that prosecutors were conducting a “witch hunt” against him because of his political views.

According to the new indictment, he allegedly used credit cards belonging to contributors who were not aware they were being cheated to charge more than $44,000 (£35,000) to his campaign over the course of several months.

According to the charging papers, he once charged $12,000 (£9,700) on a contributor’s credit card before moving the great majority of that money to his own bank account.

In order to be eligible for Republican party funding, the prosecution claims that he filed a series of fictitious loans.

“Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen,” Breon Peace, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

“This Office will relentlessly pursue criminal charges against anyone who uses the electoral process as an opportunity to defraud the public and our government institutions.”

On October 27, the 35-year-old will appear in court.

Mr. Santos, who identified himself as the first LGBT Republican to serve in Congress, won an unexpected election in a congressional district that leans Democratic in 2022.

But since he took office in January, he has become involved in a number of significant controversies.

He has been charged with lying about his educational background and employment history, breaking campaign finance and conflict of interest regulations, fabricating the story that his grandparents had survived the Holocaust, and setting up a fictitious animal charity to steal money intended for a dying veteran’s dog.

In the Republican-controlled chamber, House Democrats introduced a resolution in February to expel Mr. Santos.

In the past, members of his own party have called for him to step down, and most recently, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that he would not support Mr. Santos’ reelection.

The most recent accusations came just after Mr. Santos’ senior election aide acknowledged that she had fabricated some financial records related to the campaign.

According to the prosecution, Nancy Marks reported a fictitious loan of $500,000 (£410,000) that Mr. Santos claimed to have given the campaign.

Because of the bogus reports, the campaign met the fundraising requirements to be granted funding from the National Republican Party committee.

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