According to an indictment filed on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. George Santos has been implicated in a scheme where he allegedly misused donors’ credit card details to fund his campaign illicitly. This recent 23-count indictment replaces one from May, which charged the New York Republican with embezzling campaign funds and lying about his financial status to Congress.
Prosecutors accuse Santos of unauthorized charges totaling over $44,000 using his donors’ credit cards. They allege that, in one instance, he transferred a large portion of a $12,000 charge from a donor’s card directly to his personal bank account.
Further, Santos is charged with falsifying a loan report to the Federal Elections Commission, claiming he loaned $500,000 to his campaign when he had less than $8,000 in his bank. As per the indictment, this supposed loan was an effort to convince the Republican Party of his candidacy’s viability.
Santos has been under scrutiny since his election to represent parts of Long Island and Queens. Allegations against him include a history of deception about his personal and professional life, in addition to financial improprieties. In May, he was arrested on a 13-count federal indictment, accusing him of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses and unlawfully obtaining pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
Nancy Marks, former campaign treasurer for Santos, recently pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge, admitting she assisted Santos in misleading potential donors through false campaign finance reports. This latest indictment highlights a collaborative effort between Marks and Santos to falsely report a $500,000 campaign loan to gain additional Republican Party support.
The indictment paints a picture of a duplicitous Santos, allegedly manipulating both donors and family members. In one scheme, after a donor had reached their contribution limit, Santos is accused of making unauthorized charges to the donor’s credit card and falsely attributing these to his own unknowing relatives.
Prosecutors highlighted that the alleged credit card fraud started in December 2021, right after Santos failed to qualify for a Republican Party support program. Messages from that period show Santos expressing feelings of desperation.
Apart from these allegations, questions surround Santos’ financial history, which includes evictions and bad check-related criminal charges. A separate fundraiser, Sam Miele, faces charges of impersonating a high-ranking congressional aide during Santos’ campaign fundraising activities.
Despite the mounting allegations, Santos remains defiant, terming previous charges as part of a “witch hunt.” His next court hearing is awaited.