Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has returned to public attention following his notoriety for telling several falsehoods during his campaign for his congressional seat in 2022. However, his questionable conduct may have placed him in legal jeopardy.
On Wednesday, federal charges against Santos were unsealed just before his initial court appearance.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York released a 13-count indictment against the congressman, which includes seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making false statements to the House of Representatives.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 10, 2023
A federal grand jury sitting in Central Islip, New York, returned the sealed indictment against Santos on Tuesday. He was apprehended on Wednesday morning and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay for arraignment at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Santos is currently being detained at the same federal courthouse.
Santos gained notoriety last year after many of his assertions regarding his past and professional background were subjected to scrutiny. It was disclosed that he had made multiple misleading statements while on the campaign trail, such as falsely identifying as Jewish and fabricating his work history with prominent corporations before embarking on his political career.
During an interview with the New York Post, Santos made revelations about several of the false statements he had previously made. He admitted to misrepresenting his college attendance and work history at prominent Wall Street companies. Santos acknowledged that he never graduated from any college and clarified that he had not directly worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Instead, he had conducted business with them through his former employer, Link Bridge.
Santos also responded to allegations of fabricating his family history, sexual orientation and being a non-paying tenant. Notwithstanding the ensuing controversy, he expressed his resolve to perform his two-year term in Congress effectively and fulfill the pledges he had made during his election campaign.
Santos came under scrutiny for falsely asserting his Jewish identity on his campaign website. The site claimed that his mother was Jewish, and his grandparents fled the Nazis. Santos later clarified that he is Catholic but highlighted that his maternal lineage had a Jewish background, prompting him to describe himself as “Jew-ish.”
The congressman also affirmed that he had been in a marriage with a woman until their divorce in 2017 and disclosed that he is currently happily married to a man. Furthermore, Santos admitted to defaulting on rent payments to a previous landlord, citing financial difficulties due to his mother’s medical debts. He also acknowledged misleading people about owning several properties and revealed that he presently lives with his sister, although he plans to buy his own residence.