ALEX BRANDON, ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., waits for the start of a session in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Jan. 6, 2023. Santos has been arrested on federal

George Santos charged with fraud, including stealing from campaign to buy designer clothes

By JAKE OFFENHARTZ and MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

ALEX BRANDON, ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., waits for the start of a session in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Jan. 6, 2023. Santos has been arrested on federal

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — U.S. Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican infamous for fabricating his life story, has been indicted on charges that he duped donors, stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, all while cheating to collect unemployment benefits, he didn’t deserve, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The indictment was a reckoning for a web of fraud and deceit that prosecutors say overlapped with Santos’ fantastical public image as a wealthy businessman — a fictional biography that began to unravel after he won election last fall.

Santos surrendered on Wednesday and was taken to a federal courthouse on Long Island, where he was expected to make an initial court appearance on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.

Among the allegations, prosecutors say Santos induced supporters to donate to a company under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, they say, he used the money for personal expenses, including designer clothes and his credit card and car payments.

Santos also is accused of lying about his finances on congressional disclosure forms and applying for and receiving unemployment benefits while he was employed as regional director of an investment firm that the government shut down in 2021 over allegations that it was a Ponzi scheme.

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

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