George Santos has been charged with defrauding campaign contributors

US prosecutors have filed 23 criminal charges against US Representative George Santos, accusing him of multiple fraudulent schemes and lying to the Federal Election Commission. The charges build on 13 counts Santos pleaded not guilty to in May, including laundering campaign funds for personal expenses and illegally claiming unemployment benefits while he was employed.

The new indictment alleges that Santos charged over $44,000 (£35,000) to his campaign over a period of months using credit cards belonging to contributors who were unaware they were being defrauded. On one occasion, he charged $12,000 (£9,700) to a contributor's credit card, ultimately transferring the vast majority of that money into his personal bank account.

Prosecutors also said Santos reported a series of fictions loans to qualify for support from the Republican party. Breon Peace, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said that Santos falsely inflated the campaign's reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.

Santos was elected in 2022 after scoring an upset victory in a Democrat-leaning congressional district, touting himself as the first LGBT Republican to serve in Congress. He has been embroiled in several serious scandals since he took office in January, including lying about his college degrees and work experience, violating campaign finance and conflict of interest laws, falsely claiming his grandparents survived the Holocaust, and creating a fake animal charity.

The latest charges come just days after a top election aide to Santos admitted she falsified some of the campaign's financial records.


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