National punchline and GOP Representative George Anthony Devolder Santos, 34, surrendered to federal authorities Wednesday morning and will appear in a federal courtroom on Long Island later on Wednesday.
Santos has been indicted on 13 counts unsealed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York that include 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.
Fraudulent Political Contribution Solicitation Scheme
In September 2022, Santos directed a consultant to solicit donors and tell them that their money would be used to elect him to Congress. Two donors contributed $25,000 to a business Santos had set up. Shortly thereafter, Santos transferred that money to his personal accounts.
Santos allegedly used the funds to make personal purchases (including of designer clothing), to withdraw cash, to discharge personal debts, and to transfer money to his associates.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Scheme
Sometime around February 2020, Santos was employed at a Florida-based consulting firm, and earning $120,000. When the pandemic hit in March, the government authorized addition unemployment funds for those out of work.
In mid-June 2020, although he was employed and was not eligible for unemployment benefits, Santos applied for government assistance through the New York State Department of Labor, allegedly claiming falsely to have been unemployed since March 2020. From that point until April 2021—when Santos was working and receiving a salary on a near-continuous basis and during his unsuccessful run for Congress—he falsely affirmed each week that he was eligible for unemployment benefits when he was not. As a result, Santos allegedly fraudulently received more than $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits.
False Statements to the House of Representatives
Like all candidates, Santos had a legal duty to file with the Clerk of the House of Representatives a Financial Disclosure Statement, a full and complete accounting of his assets, income, and liabilities, among other things.
In May 2020, in connection with his first campaign for election to the House, Santos filed two House Disclosures in which he allegedly falsely certified that, during the reporting period, his only earned income consisted of salary, commission, and bonuses totaling $55,000 from another company.
Santos overreported the second company, while completely not reporting the first company (as mentioned above in the political contribution fraud scheme).
In 2022, for his second campaign, Santos filed another House Disclosure, in which he allegedly overstated his income and assets. In this House Disclosure, he falsely certified that during the reporting period:
- He had earned $750,000 in salary from the Devolder Organization LLC, a Florida‑based entity of which Santos was the sole beneficial owner;
- He had received between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 in dividends from the Devolder Organization LLC;
- He had a checking account with deposits of between $100,001 and $250,000; and
- He had a savings account with deposits of between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000.
The assertions were false, and Santos also failed to claim $28,000 investment income as well as over $20,000 in false unemployment benefits.
The full indictment is below.
DOJ press release in its entirety is found here.