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Con Artist Accused of Trying to Scam Alleged Scammer George Santos

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A convicted con artist is facing new charges for allegedly trying to swindle several high-profile figures, including serial fabulist and accused fraudster George Santos, the disgraced former GOP congressman facing federal felony charges of his own.

El Paso, Texas, resident Hector Medina came under FBI investigation in the summer of 2023, for “falsely promising… [he] could cause [Santos’] criminal exposure to disappear in exchange for large sums of money,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court.

“I am currently in the initial phases of my representation of Mr. Medina in this matter,” attorney Joseph Veith told The Daily Beast in an email. “Mr. Medina eagerly anticipates confronting the allegations against him through the formal legal process.”

Veith declined to identify the others Medina allegedly attempted to con.

Last July, Medina, 39, texted a video to Santos’ cellphone, in which he said his name was “Mike Soto,” the complaint against him states.

“You don’t know me but, I wanted you to see a face and trust me on what I’m about to tell you,” Medina allegedly said. “I work with prosecutors and, uh, judges throughout the United States and I want to give you the opportunity to offer my services. I was contacted by some people to reach out to you and see if you wanted to cut a deal. Uh, this only stands for today. If you’re interested, I can get everything dropped, evidence that is on you removed, disappeared. Reach out to me if you’re interested. It’s simple yes or no. Thank you.”

That same day, Medina sent numerous follow-up texts to Santos, quoting him a price of $900,000.

“I’m the real deal… don’t let doubt come… [i]n the way… [o]f you getting this dismissed,” Medina wrote, according to the complaint.

A snippet from the federal complaint charging Hector Medina with wire fraud.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Over the next few days, and continuing into August, Medina continued to try to make contact with Santos, the complaint says. He sent Santos a picture of a bogus New Mexico driver’s license along with a second video of himself asking if he had the correct number.

“I just want to know if I’m contacting [George Santos] or not,” Medina allegedly said in the video. “If it is [you], uh, reach out to me. If it’s not, you know it’s—disregard this message or at least tell me that it’s not so I’m not spinning my wheels here. Thank you very much.”

Medina kept trying, badgering Santos to confirm he was indeed on the other end of the line, the complaint states.

“I’ve been trying to look for [George Santos] for over a month is this him?” Medina allegedly wrote. “I know you see my messages.”

In another video, the feds say Medina told Santos, “Look, if this isn’t uh, [George Santos], that’s fine. But, if it is, I’m here to help you. I wanna—I’m on your team. If you don’t want the help, at least connect me with people that do. Um, you know, I’m really good at what I do. I am a genius. I am a wizard when it comes to things like this. So, take advantage of the situation and let me know. Thank you.”

Santos is not directly named in the complaint, but it describes “Individual-1” as a “United States Congressman for New York’s Third Congressional District,” who served from Jan. 7, 2023, through Dec. 1, 2023, and was indicted on May 9, 2023, by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York. (Santos has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.)

The complaint does not specify how the FBI tracked Medina down, but a footnote reveals law enforcement obtained a search warrant in September 2023 for his iCloud account. A review of his communications showed Medina had “attempted to defraud other well-known individuals using substantially the same false representations,” according to the complaint.

One, identified as “Individual-2” in the complaint, was “a publicly known actor who had been convicted of felonies in California in May 2023.”

“Good morning [Individual-2], my name is Mike and I’m working with the people affiliated with your case,” Medina allegedly said in a message sent to the actor’s phone. “I can get the case thrown out or a reduced sentence very low but my people are asking for a $1 million dollar fee. Let me know if you’re interested, please text back no lawyers no attorney no police because you and I doing [sic] business. Otherwise best of luck. I can help. Today.”

Medina allegedly followed up with the actor’s wife, offering “a unique opportunity,” according to the complaint.

“If you’re interested, there is a fee,” the complaint says he wrote, writing back later that he needed an answer soon.

Medina targeted two other potential victims, according to the complaint, naming “Individual-3” as “a publicly known musician who had been arrested in June 2023,” and “Individual-4” as “a professional athlete… whose family member had been arrested in May 2023.”

He told them both that he worked “for very powerful people” who could get their charges dropped, again cautioning, “no lawyers[,] no police[,] no anybody,” the complaint states.

Under FBI questioning on Dec. 14, 2023, Medina confessed to having sent the messages and videos to Santos and the others, and told agents that he “searched the Internet for individuals who were in trouble believing that they would be easy targets for his scheme,” says the complaint.

“Medina wanted the money because he owed over $100,000 in gambling debts,” it goes on.

The complaint does not say whether or not Medina got any responses, or received any money from his intended victims.

Medina, who the complaint says has prior felony convictions for theft and fraud, surrendered to police Wednesday morning in El Paso, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where Medina is charged with wire fraud. He will appear today in El Paso federal court, but he will be prosecuted in Brooklyn.

If convicted, Medina faces up to 20 years in prison.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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