A federal grand jury added another 10 criminal counts Tuesday against New York Republican Rep. George Santos related to the 2022 election, alleging he filed fraudulent fundraising reports and repeatedly charged donors’ credit cards without permission.
The superseding indictment in New York added to the original 13-count indictment filed in May and brings the total charges against Santos to 23. In it, prosecutors accuse Santos of two schemes related to a Republican Party program and credit cards and accused him of wire fraud, identity theft, false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and more.
In a scheme related to a party program, Santos inflated the amount of money his campaign was bringing in so he could receive financial support from the national party, prosecutors said in news releases.
And in a scheme related to credit cards, Santos used donors’ credit card information to circumvent FEC contribution limits and move money into his own account, prosecutors said.
“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, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a news release. “Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.”
Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Nancy Marks, a former campaign committee treasurer for Santos, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to related actions. Santos and Marks conspired to report false information to the FEC to make sure that Santos’ campaign qualified for a national party committee program for financial and logistical assistance if he raised a minimum of $250,000 from third-party donors in a quarter, prosecutors said.
To make it look like Santos’ campaign reached the financial benchmark for national party assistance, Santos and Marks allegedly falsely reported to the FEC that at least 10 of their family members made big financial contributions to the campaign.
The two also planned to falsely report to the FEC that Santos loaned his campaign large amounts of money, when Santos did not make the reported loans and he did not have the money to make the loans at the time they were reported to the FEC, prosecutors said.
That includes a $500,0000 loan, at a time when Santos had less than $8,000 in his accounts, prosecutors said.
Santos also worked to steal the personal and financial information of his campaign donors and charged their credit cards repeatedly without their consent, the Justice Department said.
The unauthorized transactions moved money into Santos’s campaign, those of other candidates and to Santos’s bank account, prosecutors said. And to conceal the source of the money and obfuscate contribution limits, he falsely represented that the donations were made by his relatives or associates instead of those who owned the card, prosecutors said.
When one donor provided billing information for credit cards to donate to Santos’ campaign, Santos used the information without the cardholder’s knowledge or permission to make contributions to his campaign and affiliated political committees that exceed FEC limits, the Justice Department said.
In one instance, Santos charged $12,000 to that donor’s credit card and transferred most of it to his own personal bank account, the Justice Department said.
Santos’ complete list of charges: 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 FEC; two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC; two counts of aggravated identity theft; and one count of access device fraud.
This is in addition to the previous counts: 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.
Santos’ next court date is Oct. 27.