George Santos pleads not guilty, released on $500,000 bail

Long Island liar George Santos pleads NOT GUILTY to 13 federal charges  including money laundering and wire fraud: GOP congressman is released on $500,000 bond

  • Indictment says he took $24,000 in unemployment benefits while working
  • He was pulling in $120,000 a year at the time
  • Allegedly took $25,000 from campaign donors, transferred to personal account 

Republican Rep. George Santos has pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges for misleading donors and lying about his finances and has been released on a $500,000 bond.

The Long Island liar was taken into custody in New York after he was indicted on a string of offenses including money laundering, wire fraud and making false statements during his campaign.

Prosecutors accused him of using donor funds to buy designer clothes and pay off personal debts and for applying for COVID unemployment benefits while running for Congress and making $125,000 a year.

He appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon, pleaded not guilty and freed on bail in a pivotal moment in his career just four months after he was sworn in. 

He will appear in court again on June 30 and was also made to surrender his passport. 

The Eastern District of New York unsealed the indictment on Wednesday morning, 24 hours after Santos appeared to have no idea he was being charged.

The indictment 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. 

The allegations add to the litany of lies he has been accused of, including stealing money meant for a dying Iraq War veteran’s dog and being behind a credit card fraud. 

Republican Rep. George Santos is in custody after he was indicted on federal charges

‘This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,’ stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. 

‘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 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. 

‘My Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively root out corruption and self-dealing from our community’s public institutions and hold public officials accountable to the constituents who elected them.’ 

The charges related to unemployment benefits carry potential additional political sting, since the benefits draw funds from the state whose voters sent him to Washington.

Prosecutors say he took those benefits while receiving income. 

‘At the height of the pandemic in 2020, George Santos allegedly applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress,’ said D.A. Anne Donnelly. 

‘As charged in the indictment, the defendant’s alleged behavior continued during his second run for Congress when he pocketed campaign contributions and used that money to pay down personal debts and buy designer clothing.’

At the time, Santos was pulling in $120,000 a year from his Florida-based investment firm.

Santos’ arraignment is set for Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay at the Alfonse D’Amato Federal Courthouse. 

A newly unsealed indictment charges Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) with claiming unemployment benefits while pulling in a six-figure salary and using campaign donations for personal uses, as well as making false statements on his financial disclosures

DeSantos sat alone on the first day of the new Congress after a series of revelations about his fabrications. But he has since insinuated himself into his role. Speaker Kevin McCarthy noted that he does not serve on congressional committees, but he provides a crucial vote for the majority

Santos surrendered himself at the Islip Federal Court

Photographers lines up to see the serial fabricator as he faced federal charges

The alleged scheme brought him $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits. 

The indictment also spells out a ‘fraudulent’ scheme where Santos defrauded political supporters, telling a political consultant to inform donors their contributions were to elect him to Congress. That led two donors to transfer $25,000 to the bank account of an LLC operated by Santos. 

Santos then took those funds and transferred them to his personal bank accounts, according to the indictment. ‘Santos allegedly then used much of that money for personal expenses’ – including designer clothing, cash withdrawals, and to service debts. 

The feds also charge Santos with making false statements to Congress on his required financial disclosures. Those forms require a ‘full and complete’ disclosure of his finances.

The indictment says he overstated the income he got from one firm and ‘altogether failed’ to disclose he got from an investment firm during his first campaign for Congress.

The indictment alleges he overstated his income and assets during his second run – when he shocked political experts by defeating Democrat Robert Zimmerman.

The ‘false’ statement claimed he got $750,000 in salary from the Devolder Organization LLC; got dividends of between $1 million and $5 million, and held a savings account with up to $5 million.

Those claims were ‘false,’ according to the indictment, which also charges he failed to disclose $28,000 in income from an investment firm and $20,000 in UI benefits from New York.  

The indictment’s charges of fraud and money laundering pose a political headache for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who relies on Santos’ vote in his narrow majority. 

McCarthy indicated to reporters Monday after news of the then-sealed indictment broke that he intended to stand by him.

“Just like we had before with [former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry] … he was found guilty and then I told him he needed to resign,’ McCarthy said. Fortenberry was convicted of lying about foreign campaign contributions.

Source: Read Full Article