Rep. George Santos in custody and indicted on 13 counts, including wire fraud and money laundering
The congressman was taken into custody Wednesday morning in New York.
(ABC NEWS)—Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., has been indicted on 13 counts, including 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 of Representatives, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York said Wednesday.
The embattled congressman was taken into custody Wednesday morning on Long Island, New York.
Santos defrauded campaign donors, prosecutors say
According to the indictment, Santos solicited donations for his run for office “under the false pretense” that those funds would actually be used for politics.
Instead, prosecutors said Santos spent “thousands of dollars of the solicited funds on personal expenses, including luxury designer clothing and credit card payments.”
Santos is also charged with illegally receiving unemployment benefits during the pandemic even though “he was employed and was not eligible for unemployment benefits,” the indictment said.
Santos is also charged with lying to the House of Representatives on his financial disclosures. Taken together, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. Santos relied on “repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
Santos received unemployment while employed and running for Congress: Docs
He collected money from then until April 2021, “when Santos was working and receiving a salary on a near-continuous basis and during his unsuccessful run for Congress,” referring to his first run for the job, which he lost. In total, prosecutors say he collected more than $24,000 in benefits.
He was actually being paid a $120,000 salary as regional director of an investment firm at the time, according to prosecutors.
Santos to plead not guilty, was taken into custody off-site
Before leaving, Santos met with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s staff and informed them that he would be charged.
He’s expected to plead not guilty, sources told ABC News.
Santos met with the FBI at an off-site location Wednesday morning and surrendered to authorities.