Rep. George Santos Faces New Charges in Ongoing Legal Battle

Congressman accused of credit card misuse and identity theft, as legal challenges persist.

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Congressman accused of credit card misuse and identity theft, as legal challenges persist.

U.S. prosecutors have brought a fresh array of criminal charges against embattled Representative George Santos, alleging that he ran up multiple charges on the credit cards of campaign donors. The U.S. Department of Justice filed 23 charges against the Republican congressman, including wire fraud and identity theft. This move builds upon an earlier indictment and further accuses him of providing false information to the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Santos has not issued a statement regarding these developments, which were announced on Tuesday.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith remarked, “Santos allegedly led multiple additional fraudulent criminal schemes, lying to the American public in the process. Anyone who attempts to violate the law as part of a political campaign will face punishment in the criminal justice system.”

The charges supplement the 13 counts Santos had pleaded not guilty to in May, where he was accused of laundering campaign funds for personal expenses and falsely claiming unemployment benefits while being employed.

Previously, Mr. Santos had accused prosecutors of orchestrating a political “witch hunt” against him.

The new indictment alleges that he charged more than $44,000 to his campaign over several months using credit cards belonging to donors who were unaware of the fraudulent charges. On one occasion, he charged $12,000 to a contributor’s credit card and ultimately transferred most of that money into his personal bank account, as stated in the charging document.

Prosecutors also assert that he reported fictional loans to qualify for support from the Republican party. “Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen,” explained Breon Peace, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“This Office will relentlessly pursue criminal charges against anyone who uses the electoral process as an opportunity to defraud the public and our government institutions,” Peace added.

George Santos, 35, is set to appear in court again on October 27. He was elected in 2022, securing an upset victory in a traditionally Democrat-leaning congressional district while promoting himself as the first LGBT Republican to serve in Congress. However, he has faced multiple serious scandals since taking office in January, including accusations related to his qualifications, campaign finance, and ethical conduct.

In February, House Democrats initiated a resolution to expel Mr. Santos, a mostly symbolic action in the Republican-controlled chamber. Additionally, calls for his resignation have come from within his own party, with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stating he would not support Santos’ bid for re-election.

These latest charges come shortly after a top election aide to Mr. Santos admitted to falsifying certain financial records for the campaign, involving a fake $500,000 loan that the congressman claimed to have given, in turn affecting the campaign’s qualification for financial support from the national Republican Party committee.