On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican infamous for fabricating his life story regarding his heritage, education, professional pedigree, as well as a series of other offenses, has been charged with federal criminal charges.
The indictment was a reckoning for a web of fraud and deceit that prosecutors say overlapped with Santos’ fantastical public image as a wealthy businessman —a fictional biography that began to unravel after he won the election last fall.
Santos surrendered on Wednesday and was taken to a federal courthouse on Long Island, where he was expected to make an initial court appearance on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.
Among many other allegations, the most pressing is where he induced supporters to donate to a company under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, they say, he used the money for personal expenses, including designer clothes, credit and car payments.
The indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” U.S. Attorney Breon Pence said. “Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
Santos said he was unaware of the charges and has defied calls to resign as well.
He has given no indication that he plans to step aside because of his indictment. Last month, Santos said would run for reelection. It is not uncommon for members of Congress in both parties to remain in office while facing charges.
Many of Santos’ fellow New York Republicans called on him to resign after his fabricated life story was revealed. Some renewed those calls after news of his indictment.
“Sooner or later, whether he chooses to or not, both the truth and justice will be delivered to him,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro, a Republican representing parts of upstate New York.