Federal prosecutors file criminal charges against New York congressman George Santos

·2-min read

Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against George Santos, the Republican congressman whose campaign was littered with falsehoods about his past.

Mr Santos is expected to appear on Wednesday at a federal court in New York’s Eastern District, where the charges have been filed, the network reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter. CNN first reported on the charges against Mr Santos. Multiple news organisations confirmed the report, including the Associated Press, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.

The exact charges have not yet been revealed, but Mr Santos was reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for his campaign finances.

The charges represent a rapid rise and fall for a man his own constituents decried as an “imposter.”

Mr Santos was elected to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District in November 2022, defeating Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of 54 per cent to 46 per cent. Soon after that victory, it emerged that Mr Santos had lied about much of his personal history and work experience.

A New York Times investigation found that he had lied about working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, lied about the college he attended, fabricated an animal charity, that the company from which he had earned a salary of $750,000 and dividends of $1m did not have any online presence, lied about saying he lost four employees in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, and that he faced criminal charges in Brazil for cheque fraud.

A local pressure group started by local citizens was formed with the aim of forcing Mr Santos from office. They held regular protests outside his campaign office and called on Republican leaders to expel him from Congress.

Republican House majority leader Kevin McCarthy refused to hold a vote to expel Mr Santos, but the GOP leader said he would likely face a probe by the House Ethics Committee.

Following the news of criminal charges on Tuesday, Mr McCarthy told CNN: “I’ll look at the charges.”

Since Mr Santos was sworn into office in January, revelations about his past have continued to emerge. The most recent report found that Mr Santos was charged with writing bad checks to purchase puppies from Amish farmers in 2017.

Mr Santos, 34, has apologised for what he described as “résumé embellishment,” but has refused to resign.

The Independent contacted New York’s Eastern District for comment.