US congressman who faked resume indicted for identity theft and fraud

Republican George Santos insists he will not resign, despite the felony charges pending against him

Scandal-plagued Republican congressman George Santos was federally indicted on 10 counts including identity theft, embezzlement, and wire fraud in the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday, bringing the total number of felony charges against him to 23. 

The freshman New York representative, who in 2022 became the first openly gay Republican to be elected to the House, is accused of stealing campaign donors’ identities and using their credit cards to run up thousands of dollars more in fraudulent charges, often in excess of per person donation limits prescribed by law. He also allegedly embezzled funds from his company and conspired with his former campaign treasurer Nancy Marks to falsify donation totals in order to qualify for significant amounts of financial support from the Republican Party and “make the campaign appear more financially sound than it was,” according to prosecutors. 

The indictment includes messages between Santos and Marks in which they discuss plans to secure more Republican cash by fictionalizing their fundraising totals. Marks, who resigned from Santos’ team in January, pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US. She confessed to filing reports claiming nonexistent donors – including members of both her and the congressman’s families –  had lent the campaign $500,000, despite no such loans being made. 

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US congressman arrested on litany of federal charges

The Republican congressman told reporters on Tuesday that he had no plans to resign, insisting he was entitled to due process and would fight the charges “until the bitter end.”

Tuesday’s indictment comes in addition to the 13 federal charges filed against Santos in May, which included 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. Prosecutors alleged he set up a company to fraudulently solicit “campaign contributions” from supporters which he then used for personal expenses including designer clothing; he was also accused of defrauding the state’s Covid-19 unemployment scheme, having applied for and received benefits despite being employed with a six-figure salary at the time. 

Santos pleaded not guilty to those charges, promising to “fight [his] battle” against what he described as a “witch hunt.” He confirmed at the time that he still planned to run for re-election in 2024 despite pleas from some in his party to step down.

Santos’ career in Congress has been dogged by revelations that he largely fictionalized his personal and political history – from his professional resume to his religious heritage and his criminal record – only to sail into a contested House seat without so much as a cursory fact-check from the Democratic opposition. He has admitted to “embellishing” his personal history but has denied wrongdoing.

 

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