Santos: George Santos, Republican congressman from New York, arrested on federal criminal charges

NEW YORK: United States Representative George Santosthe New York Republican infamous for fabricating key pieces of his life story, was arrested on federal criminal charges Wednesday before a court appearance.
The indictment says Santos enticed supporters to donate to a company under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, he says, he used it for personal expenses, including luxury designer clothes and to pay off his credit cards.
American lawyer Breon Peace said the indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations.”
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment accuse Santos of relying on repeated dishonesty and deceit to ascend the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” Peace said.
Santos was scheduled to appear for the first time in federal court on Long Island later Wednesday, when the charges against him would be dropped.
Reached by the AP on Tuesday, Santos said he was unaware of the charges.
Santos was elected to Congress last fall after a campaign built in part on lies. He told people he was a wealthy Wall Street trader with a substantial real estate portfolio who had been a star volleyball player in college, among other things. In reality, he didn’t work at the big financial firms he said had employed him, hadn’t gone to college, and had struggled financially before he ran for public office.
Questions about his finances also surfaced. In regulatory filings, Santos said he loaned more than $750,000 to his campaign and related political action committees, but it’s unclear how he got into that kind of wealth so quickly after years at the helm. during which he struggled to pay his rent and faced multiple eviction proceedings. .
In a financial disclosure form, Santos said he earned $750,000 a year plus dividends from a family business, the Devolder organization. He later described this business as a broker for the sale of luxury items like yachts and airplanes. The company was incorporated in Florida shortly after Santos quit working as a salesperson for a company accused by federal authorities of operating an illegal Ponzi scheme.
Many of Santos’ fellow Republicans in New York called on him to step down after his fabrication story came to light. Some renewed their criticism of him as news of the criminal case spread.
“Look, George Santos should have resigned in December. George Santos should have resigned in January. George Santos should have resigned yesterday. And maybe he will resign today. But sooner or later, whether he likes it or not, truth and justice will be served for him,” said U.S. Representative Marc Molinaro, a Republican representing parts of upstate New York.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, was more circumspect, saying “I think in America you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
Santos has already been the subject of criminal investigations.
When he was 19, he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Brazil over allegations that he used stolen checks to buy items from a clothing store. Brazilian authorities said they have reopened the case.
In 2017, Santos was charged with theft in Pennsylvania after authorities said he used thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks to purchase puppies from dog breeders. That case was dropped after Santos claimed his checkbook was stolen and someone else took the dogs.
Federal authorities separately reviewed complaints about Santos’ work raising money for a group that claimed to help neglected and abused pets. A New Jersey veteran has accused Santos of not handing over the $3,000 he raised to help his dog undergo necessary surgery.


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