Rep. George Santos charged in new indictment with conspiracy, wire fraud

The New York congressman is facing 23 charges.

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A new indictment filed Tuesday accuses U.S. Rep. George Santos of stealing donor identifications and making unauthorized charges to their credit cards, federal prosecutors said.

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According to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, a 23-count superseding indictment was filed against Santos, R-N.Y., who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

The indictment replaces a previous one filed earlier that alleged Santos embezzled money from his campaign and lied to Congress about his wealth, according to The Associated Press.

According to Tuesday’s indictment, Santos was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the U.S., two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission, two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud.

Those charges are in addition to 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 House of Representatives that were charged in the original indictment, prosecutors said in their news release.

Prosecutors alleged that Santos charged more than $44,000 to his campaign using cards belonging to contributors without their knowledge.

Prosecutors alleged that on one occasion, Santos charged $12,000 to a contributor’s credit card, “ultimately transferring the vast majority of that money into his personal bank account.”

“As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign,” Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. “Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with nonexistent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.

“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.”

Santos is due back in federal court in Central Islip, New York, on Oct. 27, prosecutors said.

Santos did not immediately return a text and a phone message from the AP seeking comment.

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