Republican Congressman George Santos Arrested on Federal Charges

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Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was arrested on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, on federal criminal charges. Santos was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the U.S. House, according to the Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace stated that the indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations.” The indictment alleges that Santos, who has been under multiple probes, relied on “repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”

Santos surrendered to authorities and was taken into custody at a federal courthouse in Long Island. According to the indictment, Santos executed a scheme to defraud supporters of his candidacy for the House by inducing them to donate to a company “under the false pretense that the money would be used to support [Santos’] candidacy.”

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Instead, the money was used on personal expenses, including luxury designer clothing and credit card payments. Additionally, the indictment states that Santos applied for government assistance in New York during the early stages of the pandemic, despite being employed by a Florida-based investment firm where he earned a salary of about $120,000 a year.

Santos is also accused of efforts to mislead the House and the public about his finances in connection with his two runs for congressional office. During his first unsuccessful House campaign in May 2020, Santos allegedly overstated income from one company and failed to disclose the salary he was receiving from the investment firm.

The arrest of Santos comes as a blow to the Republican party, which has been struggling to maintain its footing in the wake of multiple scandals and controversies in recent years. The party had hoped to use the upcoming midterms as an opportunity to regain control of the House of Representatives, but the indictment of one of its own members may complicate those efforts.

Santos is the latest in a string of lawmakers to face criminal charges in recent years, including former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and former Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), both of whom were sentenced to prison for corruption.

The Department of Justice has indicated that it will continue to investigate and prosecute cases of political corruption, emphasizing that no one is above the law, regardless of their position or party affiliation.

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