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George Santos Arrested on Federal Fraud Charges

NEW YORK (Reuters)—Republican U.S. Representative George Santos, who has resisted calls to resign for lying about his resume, was arrested Wednesday and charged with fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.

Santos was taken into custody on Long Island, CNN reported. The representative faces 13 charges, including making false statements to Congress.

The indictment against Santos details the lawmaker’s alleged scheme to bilk supporters for donations to support himself, the Associated Press reported:

The indictment says Santos induced supporters to donate to a company under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, it says, he used it for personal expenses, including luxury designer clothes and to pay off his credit cards.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said the indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations.”

“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” Peace said.

He was expected to appear later in the day at a federal court in New York.

Santos‘ attorney and his congressional office did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters late Tuesday, after CNN first reported the news about the charges.

An Associated Press reporter who reached him by phone Tuesday quoted Santos as saying: “This is news to me. You’re the first to call me about this.”

Shortly after the election of the 34-year-old Santos in November, in a district largely comprising a wealthy area of New York’s Long Island, the New York Times and other media outlets revealed that Santos had fabricated almost every aspect of his personal and professional history.

Among other claims, Santos said he had degrees from New York University and Baruch College, despite neither institution’s having any record of his attending. He claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, which also was untrue.

He said falsely that he was Jewish and that his grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two. Santos, who identifies as gay, also failed to disclose that he was married to a woman for several years ending in 2019.

He has since admitted to fabricating large parts of his resume.

 

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

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