A new indictment filed Tuesday charged U.S. Rep. George Santos with stealing the identities of donors to his campaign and then using their credit cards to ring up tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges.
Prosecutors said some of that stolen money ended up in his own bank account.
The 23-count indictment replaces one filed earlier against the New York Republican charging him with embezzling money from his campaign and lying to Congress about his wealth, among other offenses.
The new charges include allegations that he charged more than $44,000 to his campaign over a period of months using cards belonging to contributors without their knowledge. In one case, he charged $12,000 to a contributor’s credit card and transferred the “vast majority” of that money into his personal bank account, prosecutors said.
Santos is also accused of falsely reporting to the Federal Elections Commission that he had loaned $500,000 to his campaign in an attempt to convince Republican Party officials that he was a serious candidate, when he actually had less than $8,000 in his personal accounts.
“As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
Santos did not immediately return a text and a phone message seeking comment. He has previously denied defrauding anyone.
The new charges deepen the legal peril for Santos, who likely faces a lengthy prison term if convicted. So far, he has resisted all calls to resign, insisting he intends to run for reelection next year.
Santos’ personal and professional biography as a wealthy businessman began to unravel soon after winning election to represent Long Island and Queens last year, revealing a tangled web of deception.
In addition to lying to voters — about his distinguished Wall Street background, Jewish heritage, academic and athletic achievements, animal rescue work, real estate holdings and more — Santos is accused of carrying out numerous fraud schemes meant to enrich himself and mislead his donors.