Here’s how George Santos Fooled the Entire Country:
George Santos was taken into federal custody recently since the Justice Department charged him with 13 criminal counts related to different schemes the serial liar perpetrated in recent years.
No one was surprised by the arrest, considering what’s already been revealed about the Long Island congressman’s rich history as a con artist.
If you take all the allegations together, we can see that Santos was charged with being repeatedly dishonest and deceptive in order to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.
He also used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, and even lied to the House of Representatives.
Moreover, Santos was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of theft of public funds. Moreover, two counts of making materially false statements to Congress have been added.
He then pleaded guilty to all 13 counts and was released on a $500,000 bond. “WITCH HUNT!” he tweeted.
Scamming unemployment money
Prosecutors alleged that back in June 2020, Santos applied for unemployment insurance benefits in New York, claiming to have been out of work since March.
Moreover, he continued to certify that he was unemployed and eligible for benefits. As the indictment showed, he was very much employed during this time, working as a regional director at an investment firm in Florida, where he was pulling around $120,000 a year.
The indictment notes that Santos received almost $25,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits. The alleged scam is even more disgraceful, as at the time, Santos was working in Congress to toughen work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
Scamming donor money
Prosecutors allege that Santos, working with an unknown individual, solicited donations from a company controlled by Santos, promising prospective donors that their money would be used for his 2022 congressional campaign.
Instead, as the indictment shows, Santos used tens of thousands of dollars of the money for his own benefit. We’re talking everything: cash withdrawals, personal purchases of luxury designer clothing, credit card payments, car payments, and even payments on personal debts.
He must have had a lot of fun! Truth be told, it’s quite uncommon to see a federal candidate violate the law so blatantly as he did, especially in terms of fundraising.
It seems quite intentional, in fact. It is impossible that he wasn’t aware of all the ways in which he violated the law. It’s not really campaign finance law in a technical sense, given that the entity for which he raised money turned out not to be a campaign finance vehicle, which is a huge problem for him.
Lying to the Congress
Santos was also charged with lying to Congress when he was a candidate. Not just once, but twice: both in 2020 and 2022. The indictment alleges that on congressional financial disclosure forms in 2020, he misrepresented how much he actually earned.
Do you have any specific amount of money in mind? I’ll tell you: tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, it got even worse in 2022, when prosecutors declared he lied about the fact that he earned $750,000 a year from his own company, from which he received between $1 million and $5 million in dividends annually.
Moreover, he lied that he had around $100,000 and $250,000 in a checking account and somewhere around $1 and $5 million in another savings account.
Depriving voters of the truth
Those lies in his personal financial disclosures and FEC reports definitely deprived voters of essential information about funding his campaign. Voters have a right to know that, especially going into an election.
The indictment notes that candidates are obliged to ensure the forms are “true, complete, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.” More than that, prosecutors declared that Santos was more than aware that his claims were completely false.
He lost the congressional bid back in 2020 but won the next one. Details about how Santos managed to con his way into office emerged a month later, and now, after six months on the job, keeping his seat in Congress might be the least of his concerns.
Using campaign money for personal travel and Botox
Congressional investigators declared that Santos made a habit of covering personal expenses with campaign funds without actually telling donors or the FEC where the money went.
This also included various travel expenses for flights, hotels, Uber, and even meals. When a staffer raised concerns with Santos, he declared he was dining with donors and constituents.
However, lavish trips to Atlantic City and the Hamptons were not really reported as they should have been, and they didn’t correspond with any known campaign activities.
The campaign credit card even shows taxi and hotel charges in Las Vegas in December 2021. Back then, Santos told his campaign staff that he was on his honeymoon and there weren’t corresponding campaign events on his calendar.
Botox would be a first
Congressional investigators discovered that campaign funds were spent a lot of time on Botox treatments. Many expenditures related to spa services and cosmetic procedures couldn’t be verified as having a campaign nexus.
For instance, during the 2020 campaign, a $1,500 purchase on the campaign debit card was made from Mirza Aesthetics. This type of expense was not reported to the FEC and was also noted as “Botox” in expense spreadsheets produced for the ISC by Ms. Marks.
On a similar note, the $1,400 charge at Virtual Skin Spa was also a campaign debit card purchase described as “botox” in the spreadsheets of Ms.Marks.
But that’s not all! An unreported PayPal payment of $1,029.30 to an aesthetician associated with a spa in Rhinebeck, New York, emerged at the same time.
He allegedly committed identity theft.
In a superseding indictment filed on October 10, Santos was accused of committing identity fraud and even credit card theft. Prosecutors declare he made unauthorized donations with his campaign donor’s credit card information and stole family members’ identities.
Pretty nice for a senator, right? Moreover, he was accused of conspiring with his campaign accountant to submit fraudulent information about certain contributions to the Federal Election Commission.
Santos was charged with stealing people’s identities, making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without asking for their authorization, and lying to the FEC or the public about the financial state of his campaign.
He also falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with other non-existent loans and contributions that were stolen or fabricated.
Naturally, he denies everything.
Santos declared he is 100% innocent of the 10 additional charges in the superseding indictment, which also include one count of conspiracy to commit serious offenses against the United States, but also two counts of wire fraud and two counts of submitting false statements to the FEC.
Moreover, in addition to all that, there are two other counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Oh, wait, I’m not done! There’s also one count of access device fraud. This list is longer than our Christmas shopping list, to be honest. If there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that he managed to make it into the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.
Since we’re at it, if you’re curious to read more about other con artists that made into the “wall of fame”, you should definitely read “Scams and Cons: A True Crime Collection: Manipulative Masterminds, Serial Swindlers, and Crafty Con Artists” by Madison Salters.
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