Republican Representative George Santos from New York has been indicted on charges of fraud, money laundering, and other offenses, as revealed by an indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday. This comes as a dramatic turn of events following months of investigation into the first-term congressman that was initiated after certain falsehoods about his background started to come to light.
On Wednesday morning, Santos, aged 34, was taken into custody, as announced by the Justice Department. He entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsay at the federal courthouse located in Central Islip, New York. He was directed to be released on a bond worth $500,000 and agreed to relinquish his passport.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace stated, “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.” He further explained, “He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives.”
So, what are the charges against George Santos? The 13-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, includes:
- Seven counts of wire fraud,
- Three counts of money laundering,
- Two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives,
- One count of theft of public funds.
If found guilty, Santos could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the most severe charges.