Republican Rep. George Santos, whose lies have made political and media headlines since his 2022 election, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 13 counts of financial fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
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The 34-year-old New York state elected official, who has been indicted by a grand jury, appeared in federal court in downtown Islip, east of the US metropolis, and was released on $500 bail, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office said. one thousand dollars. for the Eastern District of New York. He has been arraigned for an upcoming hearing on June 30.
A statement from the Public Prosecution Office said that Jorge Santos was charged with fraud, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds and making false statements before the House of Representatives.
The maximum incurred for such charges is 20 years in prison.
The indictment also accuses him of defrauding campaign donors by funneling $50,000 in contributions into his personal bank account, money he allegedly used to pay off debts and buy luxury clothing.
He is also accused of providing false statements to the House of Representatives regarding his assets and income.
He is also accused of receiving $24,000 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled prior to his election to Congress.
“He embezzled political donations to line his pockets, illegally sought unemployment benefits that should have been paid to New Yorkers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives,” he said. New York Attorney General Brion Pace explained.
After his election in November, and after the revelation of The New York TimesJorge Santos admitted that he lied vehemently about entire parts of his life to embellish his resume, but has since remained deaf to calls for his resignation.
Born to parents from Brazil, the one who presented himself as a symbol of the “American Dream” was accused of lying or exaggerating reality by presenting himself as “an American proud to be Jewish,” or even as the grandson of Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi barbarism.
It is the subject of multiple investigations, from Congress to Brazil.
Asked about the possible impeachment of George Santos, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he would look into the “charges” before considering expelling him from Congress.
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”