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Thursday, November 30, 2023

US Congressman George Santos has been arrested for federal crimes

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Jorge Santos was accused of fraud, including theft, in an operation to buy designer clothes.

New York Republican Congressman George Santos, who is notorious for fabricating his life story, has been accused of defrauding donors, stealing campaign money and lying to Congress about his being a millionaire. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The indictment was one count on a web of fraud and deceit that prosecutors say overlapped with Santos’ deceptive public image as a wealthy businessman, a fictional biography that began after Santos won election last fall. Had happened.

Santos surrendered on Wednesday and was taken to federal court on Long Island, where he was expected to appear on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.

Prosecutors allege that Santos induced supporters to donate to the company under the false pretenses that the money would be used to support his campaign. It is said that he used the money to pay for luxury clothes, credit cards and personal expenses such as car payments.

Santos is also accused of lying about his finances on congressional disclosure forms and serving as regional head of an investment firm and receiving unemployment benefits, which the government shut down in 2021 over Ponzi scheme claims .

The indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various charges of fraud and gross misrepresentation,” the U.S. Attorney Brion Peace said. Taken together, the allegations in the indictment imply that Santos relied on repeated dishonesty and deceit to gain his wealth by entering Congress.

Contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press, Santos said he was not aware of the allegations.

Santos rejected requests from some fellow Republicans to resign after details of his fabricated resume came to light, but declined committee duties. He never revealed any plans to step down because of his prosecution. Last month, he said he was seeking re-election. In the past, MLAs from both the parties remained in office despite being accused.

Santos, 34, was last elected to Congress after a campaign based on lies. He told people he was a wealthy Wall Street trader with a large real estate portfolio who, among other things, was a star volleyball player in college.

In fact, Santos never worked for the large financial firms that claimed to have hired her, never attended college, and struggled financially before running for office. He claimed to have fueled his operations with his self-made fortune by brokering expensive toy deals primarily for wealthy clients, but the indictment argues that even those were exaggerated.

In regulatory filings, Santos claimed to have owed more than $750,000 to his campaign and related political action committees, but it is unclear why he owed them so quickly after struggling to pay rent and facing multiple eviction proceedings. How did you get so much wealth? , ,

In a financial disclosure form, Santos reported earning $750,000 a year from the Devolder Organization, a family company, but allegations unearthed Wednesday claimed Santos never received that amount and paid $1 million in dividends and $5 million, which he had listed. Company not received. ,

Santos described the Devolder organization as a pimp selling luxury items such as yachts and planes. The business was incorporated in Florida shortly after Santos stopped working as a salesman for Harbor City Capital, a company prosecuted by federal authorities for operating an illegal Ponzi scheme.

In November 2021, Santos founded a Florida company called Redstone Strategies. Federal prosecutors have revealed that he funded his lifestyle by defrauding donors. According to the indictment, Santos asked employees to donate to the company and provided contact information for potential donors.

The indictment states that the email to potential donors falsely claimed that the company was set up “exclusively” to support Santos’ election bid and that there would be no limit on how much they could contribute. Santos said he falsely claimed the money would be used to pay for television commercials and other campaigns.

In October, a month before the election, Santos said in an indictment that he had transferred about $74,000 from company vaults to a bank account he controlled. He also said that he has given money to some of his associates.

Several of Santos’ fellow New York Republicans called for his resignation after his fabricated life story came to light. Some started calling after news of his indictment broke.

“Whether he chooses it or not, sooner or later the truth and justice will be served to him,” said the US lawmaker. Parts of Upstate New York are included.

Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah who ran against Santos in President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in February, said Santos should have resigned a long time ago.

Romney said, “I think we are seeing the wheel of justice slowly but surely turning.”

House Minority Leaders Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise were more cautious, saying Santos should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Santos has previously faced criminal investigations.

When he was 19, he was under criminal investigation in Brazil for using stolen checks to purchase goods from a clothing store. Brazilian authorities said they had reopened the case.

In 2017, Santos was charged with theft in Pennsylvania after he said he used fraudulent checks worth thousands of dollars to buy puppies from dog breeders. The case was dropped after Santos claimed that his checkbook had been stolen and the dog had been taken by someone else.

Federal authorities are separately investigating complaints against Santos who raises money for an organization that claims to help neglected and abused pets. A New Jersey veteran accused Santos of failing to give $3,000 raised to help his dog get needed surgery.

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