CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – A 13-count indictment was unsealed today, May 10 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging George Anthony Devolder Santos, a United States Congressman representing the Third District of New York, with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
The indictment was returned yesterday under seal by a federal grand jury sitting in Central Islip, New York. Santos was arrested this morning and will be arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Anne T. Donnelly, District Attorney, Nassau County, announced the charges.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “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. He 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. My Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively root out corruption and self-dealing from our community’s public institutions and hold public officials accountable to the constituents who elected them.”
“The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section is Committed to root fraud and corruption, especially when committed by our elected officials”, said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Aw alleged, Santos engaged in criminal conduct intended to deceive and defraud the American public. As this indictment reflects, the Department of Justice will hold accountable anyone who engages in such criminality”. “As today’s enforcement action demonstrates, the FBI remains committed to holding all equally accountable under the law. As we allege, Congressman Santos committed federal crimes, and he will now be forced to face the consequences of his actions. I would like to commend the diligent efforts of the investigative and prosecutorial teams in this matter,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“At the height of the pandemic in 2020, George Santos allegedly applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress,” stated District Attorney Donnelly. “As charged in the indictment, the defendant’s alleged behavior continued during his second run for Congress when he pocketed campaign contributions and used that money to pay down personal debts and buy designer clothing. This indictment is the result of a lengthy collaboration between law enforcement agencies, and I thank our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their dedication to rooting out public corruption.”
Mr. Peace also thanked the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL), and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.
As alleged in the indictment, Santos, who was elected to Congress last November and sworn in as the U.S. Representative for New York’s Third Congressional District on January 7, 2023, engaged in multiple fraudulent schemes.