George Santos Surrenders to Authorities on Charges of Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Theft of Public Funds

George Santos was arrested Wednesday morning on federal criminal charges.

The long-embattled Republican representative from New York is facing a 13-count indictment, including charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and “making materially false statements to the House of Representatives,” per the indictment.

“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,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in the DOJ statement. “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.”

For months, Santos has been under intense scrutiny — and become the butt of ceaseless political jokes — for the proven array of lies he told in the months preceding and following the successful campaign to flip his 2022 midterm House seat.

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Claims he’s made since entering the political limelight that have since been refuted include but are not limited to: working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs; losing four employees in the 2016 Pulse shooting; losing his mother in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center; and becoming a volleyball star at Baruch College.

As it relates to the charges unsealed Wednesday, Santos’ finances have also come under fire in recent months, specifically his reported $750,000 income from the Devolder Organization — what he’s described as a family brokerage company used for selling luxury items. The Eastern District court’s charges alleged that the congressman never received such a sum from the company, nor did he receive a reported $1 million to $5 million in dividends. “These assertions were false,” the charges’ press release stated.

The court also cited an unemployment insurance fraud scheme employed by Santos at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; a fraudulent political contribution solicitation scheme, which saw him paying off debts and buying luxury goods with donors’ money; and a pattern of lying to the House via financial disclosure forms during his May 2020 and September 2022 electoral bids.

All of the above, most of which was uncovered after his House win, skyrocketed Santos to the national stage and raised questions of the legality and ethics behind his rise to political power. There have also been a rise in bipartisan calls for his resignation from both elected officials and his constituency — none of which deterred him from announcing his reelection campaign in April. He did, however, resign from his congressional committee assignments in January.

With the charges coming down Tuesday from the Eastern District of New York’s U.S. District Court, Santos surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning in Long Island and is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon local time.

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