Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) leaves federal court in Central Islip on June 30.

Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) leaves federal court in Central Islip on June 30. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

Long Island congressman George Santos has been indicted on new charges alleging that he filed fraudulent fundraising reports to obtain financial support for his congressional campaign and stole thousands of dollars from his campaign contributors by charging their credit cards without authoritization, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The 23-count superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday against Santos, a freshman congressman already under indictment for allegedly orchestrating a series of schemes while running for Congress, charges him with one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud.

 “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,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with nonexistent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.”

Santos is expected to be arraigned on the new charges on Oct. 27, when he’s set to appear back at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Rep. George Santos is facing new federal charges alleging that he filed fraudulent fundraising reports to obtain financial support for his congressional campaign.
  • He is also alleged to have stolen thousands of dollars from his campaign contributors by charging their credit cards without authorization, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
  • The Republican lawmaker is expected to be arraigned on the new charges on Oct. 27, when he’s set to appear back at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

Santos, who was in a closed-door House GOP conference meeting when the superceeding indictment was announced, told reporters near his congressional office on Tuesday night that he had no comment.

"I was in conference like everyone else without my phone, so I have nothing to talk about," Santos said.

The new charges against Santos came five days after his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, admitting that she filed reports with both the FEC and the Republican National Committee that included the names of false donors in order to artificially inflate the amount of funds he raised to meet financial bench marks necessary to receive financial assistance from the national committee to meet the committee's goals.

Santos’ attorney Joseph Murray did not respond to a call seeking comment.

The 10 new felony charges against Santos complicate his already perilous legal situation, including his ability to broker a plea deal. And political opponents are expected to seize on the new allegations. Before the new charges were made public, former congressman Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who previously held the seat representing parts of Nassau County and a portion of Queens, announced Tuesday that he would seek election, citing Santos’ legal troubles.

Santos, 35, of Washington, D.C., was arrested in May on charges that he orchestrated a series of schemes while running for Congress, including ripping off political donors, fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits authorized under COVID-19 and lying on his congressional financial disclosure forms.

The Republican lawmaker, who remains free on a $500,000 unsecured bond, pleaded not guilty to 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 of Representatives as part of the alleged schemes that prosecutors said began in 2020.

In the new crimes alleged, prosecutors said Santos and Marks “conspired with one another to devise and execute a fraudulent scheme to obtain money for the campaign by submitting materially false reports to the FEC on behalf of the campaign, in which they inflated the campaign’s fundraising numbers for the purpose of misleading the FEC, a national party committee, and the public.”

Santos and Marks embarked on the scheme, prosecutors said, because they needed to demonstrate that his campaign had raised at least $250,000 from third-party contributors in a single quarter.

Santos and Marks “agreed to falsely report to the FEC that at least 10 family members of Santos and Marks had made significant financial contributions to the campaign” even though that was not the case, prosecutors said. The pair also falsely reported to the FEC that Santos had lent the campaign money, including a $500,000 loan, at a time when Santos had less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts, prosecutors said.

Santos also allegedly stole from his own supporters, prosecutors said.

From between approximately December 2021 and August 2022, Santos “devised and executed” a scheme in which he allegedly charged the credit cards of his campaign contributors, sometimes repeatedly, without their authorization. The money was transferred to Santos’ campaign, the campaigns of other elected officials and to his own bank account, prosecutors said.

In an attempt to cover up his activity and circumvent campaign contribution limits, prosecutors said, he represented that some of the campaign contributions were made by his relatives and associates.

In one instance, according to prosecutors, Santos attempted to make at least $44,800 in charges on an unnamed contributor’s credit card without their knowledge or consent after the contributor texted Santos about donating to his campaign in December 2021. The contributor provided billing information for two credit cards.

In one instance, Santos charged $12,000 to the contributor’s credit card and ultimately transferred “the vast majority” of the funds into his personal bank account. 

Santos came into Congress this year amid scandal after The New York Times reported he had lied or embellished much of his personal and professional background. 

Santos admitted some mistruths but has resisted calls to resign. Santos has said he's running for reelection. 

With Laura Figueroa Hernandez

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