Santos Slapped With 10 New Criminal Counts in Superseding Indictment

October 11, 2023 by Dan McCue
Santos Slapped With 10 New Criminal Counts in Superseding Indictment
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., who’ll be voting for the next House speaker in coming days, was charged with 10 new criminal counts on Tuesday, including identity theft.

The superseding indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, now brings the total number of counts the 35-year-old congressman faces to 23.

Specifically, the new charges are one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission, two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access-device fraud.

These were added to the charges filed against him in May, which included seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. 

Santos is due back in federal court in Central Islip on Oct. 27, 2023.

“As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.

“Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen,” he said.

As alleged in the superseding indictment, Santos engaged in two fraudulent schemes, in addition to the multiple fraudulent schemes alleged in the original indictment.

According to prosecutors, Santos and campaign manager Nancy Marks, who pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to federal conspiracy charges, conspired to obtain money for the campaign by submitting materially false reports to the FEC on behalf of the campaign, in which they inflated the campaign’s fundraising numbers for the purpose of misleading the agency, a national party committee and the public.

The purpose of the scheme, prosecutors say, was to ensure that Santos and his campaign qualified for a program administered by the Republican National Committee that would provide financial and logistical support to Santos’ campaign. 

To qualify for the program, Santos had to demonstrate, among other things, that his congressional campaign had raised at least $250,000 from third-party contributors in a single quarter.

To create the public appearance that his campaign had met that financial benchmark and was otherwise financially viable, Santos and Marks allegedly agreed to falsely report to the FEC that at least 10 family members of Santos and Marks had made significant financial contributions to the campaign, when Santos and Marks both knew that these individuals had neither made the reported contributions nor given authorization for their personal information to be included in such false public reports. 

In addition, understanding that the national party committee relied on FEC fundraising data to evaluate candidates’ qualification for the program, Santos and Marks allegedly falsely reported to the agency that Santos had loaned the campaign significant sums of money, when, in fact, Santos had not made the reported loans and, at the time the loans were reported, did not have the funds necessary to make such loans. 

These false reported loans included a $500,000 loan when Santos had less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts. 

Through the execution of this scheme, Santos and Marks allegedly ensured that Santos met the necessary financial benchmarks to qualify for the program administered by the national party committee. 

In addition, between December 2021 and August 2022, Santos allegedly devised and executed a fraudulent scheme to steal the personal identity and financial information of contributors to his campaign. 

He then charged contributors’ credit cards repeatedly without their authorization. Because of these unauthorized transactions, funds were transferred to Santos’ campaign, to the campaigns of other candidates for elected office and to his own bank account. 

To conceal the true source of these funds and to circumvent campaign contribution limits, Santos falsely represented that some of the campaign contributions were made by other persons, such as his relatives or associates, rather than the true cardholders. Santos did not have authorization to use their names in this way, prosecutors say.

For example, in December 2021, one contributor texted Santos and others to make a contribution to his campaign, providing billing information for two credit cards. 

In the days after he received the billing information, Santos allegedly used the credit card information to make numerous contributions to his campaign and affiliated political committees in amounts exceeding applicable contribution limits, without the contributor’s knowledge or authorization. 

To mask the true source of these contributions and thereby circumvent the applicable campaign contribution limits, Santos falsely identified the contributor for one of the charges as one of his relatives. 

In the following months, Santos allegedly repeatedly charged the contributor’s credit card without the contributor’s knowledge or authorization, attempting to make at least $44,800 in charges and repeatedly concealing the true source of funds by falsely listing the source of funds as Santos himself, his relatives and other contributors. 

On one occasion, prosecutors allege, Santos charged $12,000 to the contributor’s credit card, ultimately transferring the vast majority of that money into his personal bank account.

The prosecutors stressed that in filing these charges, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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