Santos was arrested Wednesday morning, and is set to be arraigned later in the day at the federal courthouse in Central Islip before US Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay in New York.
"This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fradulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
"Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying repeatedly on dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself."
Santos' time in Congress has been mired with controversy from day one, with even his GOP colleagues calling on him to come clean, or resign.
As CNN reports, upon learning of the indictment, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he'd have to "look at the charges" before deciding whether Santos should be removed from Congress.
According to the DOJ, Santos' alleged illegal activities began in 2020, when he applied for pandemic unemployment assistance and received over $24,000 despite having a well-paying job. That year, he also allegedly lied to Congress about his income during his first attempt to be elected to the House.
In 2022, Santos allegedly received $25,000 from two donors and deposited it in his personal bank account despite telling them the funds would be used to aid his election campaign. It was instead used to buy "designer clothes" and pay off personal debts. Later that year he lied once again to Congress about his income.
"The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section is committed to rooting out fraud and corruption, especially when committed by our elected officials," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr said. "As alleged, Santos engaged in criminal conduct intended to deceive and defraud the American public … The Department of Justice will hold accountable anyone who engages in such criminality."
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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