Republican Congressman Faces Fresh Charges of Stealing Donors Identities and Credit Cards – Federal prosecutors have augmented the indictment against House Republican George Santos, introducing significant allegations of fraud and false reporting in his campaign finance disclosures. This new development includes evidence suggesting that he appropriated donors’ identities, surreptitiously incurring thousands of dollars in charges on their credit cards.
These fresh charges were disclosed in an amended indictment issued by a New York grand jury on Tuesday. They significantly escalate the legal jeopardy faced by the beleaguered congressman, particularly in light of his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, who recently admitted guilt in defrauding the United States.
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The initial indictment, filed in May, already accused Santos of participating in various acts of fraud, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds, and making false statements. Santos, who secured his congressional seat by relying in part on falsehoods, had previously pleaded not guilty to these charges.
The revised indictment, now consisting of 23 counts, provides intricate details regarding two additional fraudulent schemes: the credit card scheme and a conspiracy to submit falsified reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). These deceptive reports aimed to inflate his campaign’s fundraising figures in order to mislead the Republican party into extending financial support.
The credit card scheme implicates Santos in an elaborate scheme through which he allegedly orchestrated the theft of campaign donors’ identities and financial information. This information was subsequently utilized to initiate unauthorized charges on their credit cards, channeling the funds into his campaign, other campaigns, and even his personal bank account.
One specific instance within this scheme involved Santos allegedly pilfering the billing details of a donor’s two credit cards and initiating transfers to benefit his campaign. To circumvent legal contribution limits, prosecutors assert that Santos falsely attributed these funds to himself and his relatives as the purported sources.
According to prosecutors, on a specific occasion, Santos purportedly incurred a charge of $12,000 on the donor’s credit card, with the majority of that money ultimately finding its way into his personal bank account. As for the Republican party deception scheme, it is alleged that Santos and Marks collaborated to file FEC reports that contained false assertions, including the claim that his campaign had raised $250,000 from third-party donors within a single quarter, a critical threshold required to secure financial support from the GOP.
This deceptive strategy encompassed fabricated FEC reports asserting that at least 10 family members of Santos and Marks had made substantial contributions to the campaign. Additionally, these reports falsely claimed that Santos had extended substantial loans to his campaign, including a $500,000 loan.
In response to questions from reporters as he exited a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill shortly after the amended indictment was unveiled, Santos maintained that he had not yet reviewed the new allegations and expressed his intention not to resign from his congressional seat. The congressman is scheduled to make an appearance in federal court on October 27, during which it is expected that he will face an arraignment concerning the fresh charges brought against him.
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Santos finds himself in an increasingly precarious legal situation following Marks’ guilty plea last week. She admitted to a single count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by committing one or more federal offenses, despite her attorney asserting that she had not entered into a formal plea agreement with prosecutors.
During her arraignment in a federal district court on Long Island, Marks released a prepared statement in which she acknowledged providing the FEC with a list of fictitious individuals who were purportedly campaign donors. After the courthouse proceedings, her attorney indicated that she could potentially serve as a witness against Santos in an upcoming trial.