Santos was elected to Congress last fall after a campaign built in part on lies.
WASHINGTON — US Representative George Santos, a notorious New York Republican making up key parts of his life storywas arrested on federal criminal charges Wednesday ahead of an expected court appearance.
The indictment alleges that Santos induced supporters to donate to the campaign under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, the report said, he used it for personal expenses, including fancy designer clothes and to pay off his credit cards.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said the indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations.”
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment accuse Santos of relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” Peace said.
Santos was expected to appear in court at a federal courthouse on Long Island later Wednesday, at which time the charges against him will be dropped.
Reached by the AP on Tuesday, Santos said he was unaware of the allegations.
Santos was elected to Congress last fall a company built in part on lies. He told people he was a wealthy Wall Street trader with a large real estate portfolio who, among other things, was a star volleyball player in college. He didn’t actually work for the big financial firms he claimed hired him for, didn’t go to college, and struggled financially before running for public office.
There were also questions about his finances. In regulatory filings, Santos said he loaned more than $750,000 to his campaign and a related political action committee, but it was unclear how he acquired such a fortune so quickly after years of struggling to pay rent and facing numerous lawsuits. eviction procedures. .
In a financial disclosure form, Santos said he earned $750,000 a year plus dividends from his family’s Devolder Organization. He later described the business as a brokerage for luxury items such as yachts and airplanes. The business was incorporated in Florida shortly after Santos stopped working as a salesman for a company accused by federal authorities of running an illegal Ponzi scheme.
Many of Santos’ fellow New York Republicans called for his resignation after the story of his fabrications was revealed. Some renewed their criticism of him as news of the criminal case spread.
“Look, George Santos was supposed to resign in December. George Santos was due to resign in January. George Santos was supposed to resign yesterday. And maybe today he will resign. But sooner or later, whether he wants it or not, both truth and justice will be brought to him,” said U.S. Representative Mark Molinaro, a Republican who represents part of upstate New York.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., was more circumspect, saying, “I think in America you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Previously, Santos was already brought to criminal responsibility.
When he was 19, he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Brazil for allegedly using stolen checks to buy items at a clothing store. Brazilian authorities said they had reopened the case.
In 2017, Santos was accused of theft in Pennsylvania after authorities said he used thousands of dollars in forged checks to buy puppies from dog breeders. That case was dropped after Santos said his checkbook had been stolen and that someone else had taken the dogs.
Federal authorities were separately looking into complaints about Santos’ work raising money for a group that allegedly helped neglected and abused pets. One New Jersey veteran accused Santos of not deliver $3,000 he collected to help his pet dog undergo a necessary operation.
Farnoosh Amiri contributed to this report from Washington.