34-year-old George Santos has experienced a shaky rise to fame and fall from grace as he’s fought to claim power as a U.S. Congressional representative. Unfortunately, Santos’ bid for power has not only led to his own party attempting to distance themselves from him but also his arrest, too.
On May 10th, Congressman George Santos faced a 13-count indictment from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Santos is facing seven counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of public funds, three counts of money laundering, and two counts of making false statements to the House of Representatives.
The indictment claims that Congressman Santos intentionally defrauded political supporters through a fake LLC company and engaged in numerous fraudulent schemes to obtain funding for his political campaigns. Not only did he collect money from political supporters, but he also defrauded the government, too, by allegedly collecting up to $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits illegally.
The indictment also accuses Santos of lying to the House of Representatives about his financial contributions and status while he was attempting to run for Congress.
When Santos did file a personal financial disclosure report in 2022, he claimed to have assets of up to $11 million. This report suggested a huge increase in wealth since his failed 2020 campaign, so this fact is what initially prompted investigations into the representative’s finances.
Soon after, more lies started to emerge. Santos often openly declared to be a gay, Jewish representative who obtained a degree from New York University. The University has no record of his attendance, and his Jewish heritage has also come under intense scrutiny. Santos later admitted to “embellishing a bit” about his past accomplishments but denied committing any crimes. Later, he claimed he wasn’t Jewish but in fact a Catholic. He also admitted that he never obtained a degree from any institution of higher learning.
Santos was arrested in May of 2023. During an initial hearing, Santos pleaded not guilty to his charges. He was later released on a $500,000 bond. Considering the severity of the charges the Congressman is facing, he could potentially face up to 20 years in prison if he’s convicted.
When a Web of Lies Becomes Criminal
The story of Congressman George Santos shows how a web of lies can quickly go from simple “embellishments” to serious crimes. While it’s always best not to lie or exaggerate your accomplishments, it’s important to know where to draw the line to ensure you’re not committing fraud.
Fraud is a crime that happens when someone deliberately attempts to obtain financial or similar gain by using false statements or deceptive conduct. The criminal penalties vary based on several factors, with the maximum sentence being up to 25 years in prison.
If you or someone you know is facing fraud-related charges, then it’s best to consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you’re in New York or a surrounding area, then we can help. Schedule a case review with our office now to learn more about how to defend yourself against your charges.