The ex-campaign treasurer for Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal conspiracy charge related to the 2022 election for the New York Republican’s congressional seat.
Nancy Marks of New York and Santos devised and executed a “fraudulent scheme” to get money for the campaign by “submitting materially false reports to the FEC,” the Justice Department said in a press release.
They agreed to report false information to the Federal Election Commission to make sure that Santos’ campaign qualified for a national party committee program, in which the party would give financial and logistical support to him and his campaign committee, the Justice Department said.
According to a criminal information filed late Thursday, the national party committee announced Santos as a candidate in the second phase of the program on Feb. 25. On that same day, the National Republican Congressional Committee named Santos as part of an additional slate of “On the Radar” candidates as part of the Young Guns program.
Qualifying for the program included reaching a fundraising benchmark, the Justice Department said. To meet the benchmark, Marks and the candidate agreed to “falsely report to the FEC that at least 10 family members of Marks and the candidate had made contributions to the campaign,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ said both knew that those people did not make the contributions.
Marks and Santos also agreed to falsely report that he loaned the campaign “significant sums of money,” the prosecutors said.
Marks pleaded guilty at a courthouse in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and the judge set an April 12 sentencing date.
Santos’ office on Thursday declined to comment on Marks’ plea.
Santos has been indicted on 13 federal charges in New York that include wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and false statements to the House of Representatives.
Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a press release that Marks has admitted that “she conspired with a congressional candidate to lie to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of the candidate’s campaign for New York’s Third Congressional District.”
James Smith, FBI assistant director-in-charge of the New York field office, said in a statement that Marks “engaged in criminal conduct intended to deceive and defraud the American public.”
A former fundraiser for the campaign for Santos faces federal charges that he impersonated a high-ranking aide to a member of House leadership while wooing potential donors.