NEW YORK (Dagbladet): New court documents show on Tuesday that the indictment against Santos, 35, has been expanded with 10 new charges after he was indicted in May this year. In total, he is now charged with 23 charges including fraud, identity theft and document forgery, according to US media reports – among others. AP, Washington Post And The New York Times.
Santos was elected to Congress in a byelection in 2022. Since then, scandals have been flying.
According to the indictment, Santos allegedly stole the identities of people who donated money to his campaign and then used their credit cards to obtain tens of thousands of dollars.
– to lie
A portion of this money was said to have been sent by Santos to his personal bank account, while the rest was placed in campaign accounts.
The new indictment alleges, among other things, that he embezzled campaign funds and lied to Congress about how much money he had.
According to the indictment, Santos used the lenders’ credit cards for $44,000 (about 475,000 Norwegian kroner) over several months without their knowledge. On one occasion, he allegedly charged one credit card with $12,000 (about 129,000 kroner) and transferred most of it to his personal account.
Santos was also accused of falsely informing the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that he had loaned $500,000 (about NOK 5.4 million) to his campaign. However, the truth must be that he did not lend anything to the election campaign, and only had $8,000 (about 86,400 Norwegian kroner) in his account, according to the indictment.
– Stolen identities
– Santos is accused of stealing people’s identities and using donors’ credit cards without their permission, in order to lie to the Federal Election Commission – and thus to the public as well – about the financial situation of his campaign, prosecutor Brion Pace says at a hearing. The statement, according to the Associated Press.
Santos faced the indictment as he left a two-hour meeting on Tuesday in Congress, where Republicans are trying to find a new president after Kevin McCarthy was forced to step down last week.
– I was in the meeting like everyone else without my phone, so I had nothing to say, says Santos, according to the news agency.
He has previously claimed that he is completely innocent, and that he is the victim of a political witch hunt.
The resume was in tatters
If convicted, Santos faces a significant prison sentence. But for now, he has rejected all demands to resign from Congress. On the contrary, the scandal-hit politician claims that he intends to run for re-election next year.
Shortly after Santos won election in a district on Long Island outside New York last year, much of his story unraveled after the media uncovered lies upon lies on his CV.
Among other things, he allegedly lied about his successful career on Wall Street, about his Jewish origins, about academic and athletic achievements, about working for animal organizations, property and other things.
When Santos was indicted in May, he was accused of, among other things, spending campaign funds on designer clothing and other personal expenses, and falsely claiming unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Santos himself has claimed that all the lies are just innocent exaggerations with no victims. He also believes all of the irregular financial dealings go back to his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks.
Admission of guilt
Last week, Marks pleaded guilty to attempted fraud, but she also claimed in court that she carried it out to help her former boss deceive potential donors and other GOP leaders.
According to the recent indictment against Santos, Marks and Santos allegedly collaborated in a scheme to claim that Santos loaned $500,000 to his campaign because this would lead to additional support from the Republican Party.
Santos is also accused of fabricating false donations from at least ten people, all of whom are relatives of Marks, in an attempt to show that they met the campaign’s fundraising goals.
The credit card fraud allegedly began in December 2021 shortly after he failed to qualify for a Republican Party platform that would have helped him with financial and logistical support in the election campaign.
“I am lost and desperate,” Santos allegedly wrote in a text message to Marks at this time.
However, Santos remains surrounded by accusations of a series of unregulated financial transactions. Earlier this year, among other things, he struck a deal with Brazil’s attorney general’s office to avoid prosecution over two counterfeit checks he allegedly wrote in 2008, the Associated Press wrote.
Another fundraiser for Santos, Sam Milley, is also charged in another case. According to the indictment, he must have posed as chief of staff to recently resigned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in an attempt to trick potential donors into supporting Santos. Millie denies criminal responsibility.
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