(VitalNews.org) – Republican House Rep. George Santos of New York has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment unsealed against him on the morning of May 10th.
Santos has asked a judge to be allowed to travel freely, and he was released on a $500,000 bond after surrendering his passport.
Facing a Long Island court after being arrested, Santos was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, theft of public funds, lying to Congress, and money laundering. If found guilty, he may receive up to 20 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, accuses Santos of taking political campaign donations and putting them in his personal bank accounts, using donations for personal spending on items such as designer clothes.
Peace said the indictments against Santos came because the Rep. has used “repeated dishonesty and deception” to gain his political position.
Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, said Santos will continue his 2024 re-election campaign.
Charges of dishonesty have followed Santos since he won his House seat in 2022. He has lied about obtaining degrees from colleges he never attended, he implied that his family fled persecution in the Holocaust, though his grandparents were born in Brazil after the end of World War II.
There seem to be few topics Santos won’t exaggerate or simply make up stories about. He has also claimed that he lost four employees in a shooting at a gay nightclub, that his mother died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that he has claimed to be a former volleyball champion at a school he never attended. Other claims include Santos allegedly stealing money from a fundraiser for a dying dog.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges his dishonesty is criminal. DOJ claims Santos lied about his income, severely under-reporting it during his first campaign for the U.S. House in 2020. The Department also claims Santos falsified other disclosure records by claiming he had income that he did not.
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