New indictment adds 10 more counts to the original 13
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), a freshman congressman from Long Island, has been hit with 10 additional federal charges in an updated indictment unveiled by prosecutors on Tuesday, bringing the total counts he faces to 23.
The new charges accuse Santos of stealing people’s identities, making charges on his donors’ credit cards without their authorization and lying to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) about the financial state of his campaign.
According to the indictment, Santos falsely inflated his campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen. He also allegedly used the identities of 10 family members without their knowledge to make donations to his campaign, in order to qualify for matching funds from the state.
Santos was originally indicted in May on 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to the House of Representatives. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and has refused to resign from his seat.
Plea talks with the government
The updated indictment comes after prosecutors disclosed last month that Santos has been in plea talks with the government, which could potentially lead to a resolution of the case before trial.
Santos is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 27 for a pretrial conference. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and money laundering, up to 10 years for theft of public funds, up to five years for making false statements and up to two years for aggravated identity theft.
A rising star in the GOP
Santos, 38, was elected in November 2020 as part of a wave of Republican gains in the House. He defeated Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi by a narrow margin of less than 5,000 votes in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and a slice of Queens.
Santos, who is of Portuguese descent, was seen as a rising star in the GOP and a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees and has been outspoken on issues such as immigration, China and Israel.
However, his political career has been overshadowed by the criminal allegations against him, which have drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for his resignation, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he should cooperate with the investigation.
Santos is one of two Republican congressmen currently facing federal charges. The other is Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was indicted in August on insider trading and lying to the FBI. Collins has also pleaded not guilty and has refused to step down.