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What did George Santos do? Get the details on the charges

Rep. George Santos pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges
Rep. George Santos pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges 01:28

NEW YORKRep. George Santos surrendered Wednesday morning to federal authorities to face a host of charges

Santos turned himself in around 9 a.m. at federal court in Central Islip. He pleaded not guilty, and is being released on $500,000 bond. 

Here's a closer look at what the indictment says about his charges, which include fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and false statements. 

George Santos news conference after court appearance 24:32

According to the indictment, Santos formed a company in Florida - identified in the indictment as "Company #1," and also received a salary of $120,000 from an investment company formed in Nevada.

Santos allegedly spent money on himself

The indictment alleges that Santos got money by "fraudulently inducing supporters to contribute funds to Company #1 under the false pretense that the money would be used to support [his] candidacy." 

However, prosecutors alleged Santos actually spent "thousands of dollars of the solicited funds on personal expenses, including luxury designer clothing and credit card payments" as well as "a car payment, payments on personal debts, and one or more bank transfers" to his personal associates. 

Santos allegedly lied to donors about their contributions

The indictment also alleges Santos told "a political consultant operating in Queens County and surrounding areas" who "acted on behalf of" the company to tell contributors "false information" about the company, including that it was a "501(c)(4) social welfare organization" or "independent expenditure committee" - like a Super PAC - and that their donations "would be spent on television advertisement and other independent expenditures," in spite of the fact that the company was neither of those things, and that Santos "converted most of those funds to his own personal benefit."

Donors were told there were "no limits for contributors," and did "not coordinate directly with the Santos campaign." According to the indictment, neither of those things were true. 

Santos allegedly fraudulently received COVID unemployment benefits

The indictment also alleges Santos fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, which was enacted to provide relief to those impacted by the COVID pandemic. The indictment alleges that Santos applied for unemployment benefits in June, 2020, claiming he had been unemployed since March of that year. Santos allegedly sought the unemployment benefits despite being a regional director at an investment firm that was paying him a salary of $120,000 a year. He allegedly received $24,755 in unemployment benefits between March 2020 and April 2021. 

Santos allegedly made false statements to Congress

The indictment alleges Santos also made false statements in his financial disclosures required for his run for Congress. The indictment further alleges that in an amended financial statement to the House Ethics Committee he made additional false statements about his income. 

Santos is accused of wire fraud for allegedly sending emails and text messages that made false claims while seeking donations. He is also accused of unlawful monetary transactions over $10,000. 

His office has not returned calls for comment, but he made a promise to CBS New York's political reporter Marcia Kramer on "The Point" this past weekend.

"I won't debate what the investigation entails until it's concluded, and I'll come back on your show and give you a full detail of it," Santos said.  

Even if convicted of a crime, he can only be removed from office if two-thirds of the House of Representatives vote to expel him.  

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