Rep. George Santos (R-NY) pleaded not guilty to over a dozen charges alleged by the Eastern District of New York.
The freshman congressman faces a 13-count federal indictment, including fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and false statements.
Santos turned himself in on Wednesday and was released on $500,000 bond following his arraignment.
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) May 10, 2023
Santos faces up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted.
U.S. Rep. George Santos, infamous for fabricating his life story, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he duped donors, stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, all while cheating to collect unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve. Santos said afterward that he wouldn’t drop his reelection bid, defying calls to resign.
Santos’ 13-count federal indictment was a reckoning for a web of fraud and deceit that prosecutors say overlapped with the New York Republican’s fantastical public image as a wealthy businessman — a fictional biography that began to unravel after he won election last fall.
Santos, 34, was released on $500,000 bond following his arraignment, about five hours after turning himself in to face charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress. He surrendered his passport and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Santos called the prosecution a "witch hunt."
— George Santos (@MrSantosNY) May 10, 2023
George Santos on his indictment: "The reality is it's a witch hunt." pic.twitter.com/BbS2k0JtI0
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) May 10, 2023
Read the press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York:
A 13-count indictment was unsealed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging George Anthony Devolder Santos, better known as “George Santos,” a United States Congressman representing the Third District of New York, with 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.
The indictment was returned yesterday under seal by a federal grand jury sitting in Central Islip, New York. Santos was arrested this morning and will be arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Anne T. Donnelly, District Attorney, Nassau County, announced the charges.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself. He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives. My Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively root out corruption and self-dealing from our community’s public institutions and hold public officials accountable to the constituents who elected them.”
“The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section is committed to rooting out fraud and corruption, especially when committed by our elected officials,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As alleged, Santos engaged in criminal conduct intended to deceive and defraud the American public. As this indictment reflects, the Department of Justice will hold accountable anyone who engages in such criminality.”
“As today's enforcement action demonstrates, the FBI remains committed to holding all equally accountable under the law. As we allege, Congressman Santos committed federal crimes, and he will now be forced to face the consequences of his actions. I would like to commend the diligent efforts of the investigative and prosecutorial teams in this matter,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“At the height of the pandemic in 2020, George Santos allegedly applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress,” stated District Attorney Donnelly. “As charged in the indictment, the defendant’s alleged behavior continued during his second run for Congress when he pocketed campaign contributions and used that money to pay down personal debts and buy designer clothing. This indictment is the result of a lengthy collaboration between law enforcement agencies, and I thank our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their dedication to rooting out public corruption.”