George Santos, Formerly Political Pariah, Now Criminal Defendant After 13-Count Indictment

United States Congressman George Santos became a social media phenomenon and a political pariah in early 2023 after revelations that his political career stood upon a pile of egregious lies and fabrications.

Today, Santos earns the dubious distinction of “criminal defendant” after the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York unsealed a 13-count indictment against the beleaguered politician.

Santos Stands Accused of Four Primary Offenses

Among the charges filed against the Republican Congressman representing the Third District of New York are:

  • Money laundering (three counts)
  • Wire fraud (seven counts)
  • Theft of public funds (one count)
  • Making materially false statements to Congress (two counts)

Authorities arrested Santos on the morning of May 10th, 2023, and underwent arraignment later that day.

FBI Officials Elaborate on The Allegations Against George Santos

A statement from public officials overseeing Santos' indictment elaborated on circumstances that prompted the charges:

“[Santos] used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives.”

At the time of writing, Santos has issued no formal response to the charges.

The Indictments Stem From a Series of Santos-Ian Scandals

George Santos became a recognizable name in American discourse due to a series of scandals that cast doubt on his credibility. Various sources reported that Santos had lied or embellished facts surrounding his financial status, religious affiliation, family history (including links to the Holocaust and the September 11th attacks), and other details of his personal history.

The criminal indictments arise from several specific allegations of fraud- and fraud-related activities, including charges that Santos:

  • Misappropriated political donations for personal expenses
  • Collected COVID-era unemployment benefits despite earning a salary of $120,000 at the time
  • Lying about income on official documents while running for political office

While these are the meat of criminal charges, Santos has also faced accusations of lying about where he attended school (high school and college), falsely claiming that he worked on Wall Street, and fabricating that he founded an animal charity.

Santos' Critics (Of Which There Are Many) Revel in His Arrest

Santos has received his fair share of criticism from both political parties, and commentators have proven less than sympathetic in the wake of his arrest.

Jamie Dupree noted that, in an ironic twist, Santos had co-sponsored a bill aimed at recovering fraudulent COVID-19-era unemployment relief benefits prior to his own arrest for unemployment benefits fraud:

“I can't make this up. Rep. George Santos R-NY is charged with unemployment benefits fraud. The House is slated to vote this week on a bill to help states recover fraudulent COVID unemployment payments.

Santos is a co-sponsor of that bill.”

Scott Dworkin shared a common sentiment, noting that Santos may be headed to prison and that few feel sympathy if Santos is guilty as charged:

George Santos belongs in prison, not Congress. And it looks like that’s exactly where he’s headed.”

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.