Republican Congressman George Santos turned himself in to authorities in federal court on Long Island, New York, Wednesday after being formally charged by the prosecution with a series of felonies including fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and misrepresentation in the US House. Santos was elected last January to the US House with the Republican Party: in recent months some investigations had told of how he had lied about many aspects of his life and his curriculum during the electoral campaign, and the federal prosecutor had launched some investigations.
Santos, 34, was formally charged with 13 counts: seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of misrepresenting the US House. He was expected to turn himself in to authorities: Santos underwent the standard procedure of detention after formal indictment, and will be heard in a New York court hearing this afternoon. It is not yet clear when he will be released and when the trial will begin: he risks a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
The offenses Santos has been charged with fall under three main charges. The first is that he has set up a fraudulent system for collecting public contributions which are then used for personal expenses. The second is that he applied for a government assistance scheme in June 2020, declaring himself unemployed, when in reality he was employed by a Florida investment firm with a salary of around $120,000 a year. The third is that he lied to the US House about his financial situation during the election campaign, overestimating his income and the profits derived from his shares in a company in his name, the Devolder Organization: in the latter case, writes the New York Times, the prosecutor is therefore also investigating the origin of the money with which Santos would have financed his electoral campaign.
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