George Santos previously faced calls to resign after it was claimed he repeatedly lied on the campaign trail
Scandal-hit Republican Congressman George Santos has been arrested in New York for a range of federal charges, including fraud, money laundering, and the theft of public funds, the US Justice Department has confirmed.
A 13-count indictment, which was unsealed on Wednesday, alleges that Santos “embezzled contributions from supporters, fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits, and lied in disclosures to the House of Representatives,” according to a press release published on the DoJ’s website on Wednesday.
Santos relied on “repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in the statement. “He used political contributions to line his pockets [and] unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” Peace added.
Among the allegations, the indictment claims that Santos defrauded supporters under the false pretense that donations would be spent in support of his electoral campaign last year. However, it says that these funds were instead funneled towards his “personal expenses, including luxury designer clothing and credit card payments.”
Santos’ congressional office or legal counsel have not yet formally commented on his arrest. He is expected to appear at a federal court in New York later on Wednesday. It is not yet clear if he will be required to register a plea or if he will do so at a later court date.
The arrest of the Republican congressman from New York is the latest blemish on Santos’ political track record. After his election to represent a predominantly wealthy section of New York’s Long Island in 2022, it was revealed in reporting by the New York Times and other publications that Santos had fabricated numerous elements of his background.
Santos falsely stated that he had achieved a degree from New York University, while claims that he had worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were also proven to be untrue. He also fabricated that he was of Jewish descent and falsely said that his grandparents had escaped persecution by the Nazis during World War II. The politician, who has said he is gay, also failed to disclose that he was married to a woman for several years in a marriage that ended in 2019.
Santos admitted to lying about vast parts of his declared personal and professional history, though he has previously rejected claims of criminal wrongdoing.
May 10, 2023 at 10:47PM