US lawmaker George Santos pleads not guilty to 23 count superseding indictment News
U.S. House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
US lawmaker George Santos pleads not guilty to 23 count superseding indictment

US Representative George Santos (R-NY) pleaded not guilty Friday to 23 federal crimes contained in a superseding indictment. Santos was accused of nine counts of wire fraud, four counts of making false statements, three counts of unlawful money transfers amounting to over $10,000, two counts of falsifying records or documents, two counts of aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, theft of public money and conspiracy to commit offense against the US. In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Santos said, “I have not cleared out my office. I am not resigning. I’m entitled to due process and not a predetermined outcome as some are seeking.”

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York alleged Santos engaged in multiple “fraudulent schemes” related to his 2022 US House of Representatives campaign. In the indictment, the prosecution alleged, “The defendant devised and executed at least three fraudulent schemes to obtain money… by making various material misrepresentations and omissions.”

Prosecutors claimed Santos and his campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, submitted falsified campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The submissions inflated fundraising totals to qualify for “financial and logistical” support from National Committee #1—also known as the Republican National Committee (RNC). As part of the scheme, it is alleged that Santos and Marks agreed to lie to the FEC about “significant financial contributions” made by Santos’ family to the RNC. Such large contributions were meant to attract RNC attention and support. Marks pleaded guilty to elements of campaign finance fraud on October 5.

Additionally, prosecutors claimed Santos stole personal and financial information from several individuals. The indictment stated that Santos, “repeatedly and without authorization,” used the stolen information to make donations to his campaign or direct funds to his personal accounts. Several of the charges to his campaign exceeded the individual contribution limits governed by the Federal Election Campaign Act § 30116.

Finally, Santos was accused of executing a scheme to defraud supporters by misrepresenting his campaign finance structure as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Under Internal Revenue Service regulations, a 501(c)(4) organization “must not be organized for profit” and may not benefit any one individual. Government prosecutors claimed Santos encouraged supporters to donate without limits and then used the funds for his personal benefit.

The superseding indictment released on October 10 amended a May grand jury indictment that contained 13 charges. Santos also pleaded not guilty to the May indictment. Jury selection is schedule to begin September 2024.