CENTRAL ISLIP N.Y.
George Santos (U.S. Rep.), the New York Republican who is infamous for fabricating important parts of his biography was arrested Wednesday on federal criminal charges ahead of a scheduled court appearance.
In the indictment that lays out several allegations of fraud against Santos, it is stated that he induced supporters into donating to a company on the false pretext that the money would be used to support his campaign . It says he spent the money on personal expenses such as designer clothing and paying off his credit card.
Santos is also accused of lying about his finances in congressional disclosure forms , and of applying for and receiving benefits of unemployment while he worked as regional director for an investment firm. He was also running for Congress.
U.S. Atty. Breon Peace stated that the indictment was “designed to hold Santos responsible for various alleged fraud schemes and brazen false representations.”
Peace stated that “the allegations of the indictment, taken together, charge Santos as relying on repeated dishonesty to ascend into the halls and to enrich himself,” Peace added.
Santos surrendered himself to authorities on Wednesday, and was scheduled to appear in court at a federal building in Long Island later that day.
Santos, when contacted by Associated Press on a Tuesday afternoon, said he had no knowledge of the charges.
Santos won election to Congress in the fall of last year after a -based campaign that was largely based on lies. He claimed to be a Wall Street real estate dealmaker who was also a volleyball star in college. He didn’t actually work for the large financial firms that he claimed to have worked at, nor did he go to college. His finances were also poor before he ran for office.
Also, questions about his finances surfaced. Santos stated in regulatory filings that he had lent more than $750,000 to his campaign and other political action committees. However, it is unclear how Santos could have accumulated such wealth so quickly, after struggling for years to pay rent and facing multiple eviction procedures.
Santos reported that he earned $750,000 per year, plus dividends, from the Devolder Organization, a family business. Later, he described the business as a brokerage for luxury items such as yachts and planes. Santos had ceased working for a company that was accused by federal authorities of running an illegal Ponzi scheme.
Santos’ New York Republicans colleagues have called for him to resign following the revelation of his fabrications. As the news of his criminal case spread, some renewed their criticism.
George Santos was supposed to have resigned by December. George Santos would have been better off resigning in January. George Santos would have been better off resigning yesterday. Perhaps he will resign tomorrow. “But sooner or later, whether or not he chooses, truth and justice will come to him,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro. Molinaro is a Republican who represents parts of upstate New York.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, was more circumspect. He said, “I believe in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.”
Santos was previously the subject of criminal investigations.
You can also read our newsletter.
Receive breaking news, investigative journalism, analysis, and more from the Los Angeles Times delivered to your inbox.
Los Angeles Times may send you promotional material from time to time.
In Brazil, he faced an investigation when he turned 19. It was alleged that he had used stolen checks to purchase items in a clothing store. Brazilian authorities have said that they have reopened this case.
Santos, a Pennsylvania man, was arrested in 2017 for theft after authorities claimed he had used fraudulent checks worth thousands of dollars to purchase puppies from breeders. Santos was cleared of the charges after he claimed that his checkbook had gone missing and someone else had stolen the puppies.
Santos has been investigated by federal authorities for his work in raising money to support a group which purportedly helped neglected and abused animals. Santos was accused by a New Jersey veteran of not delivering $3,000 that he raised for his dog’s surgery.