Santos, 34, is accused of duping donors, stealing from his campaign, and lying to Congress about being a millionaire while fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, AP reports.
The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years if he is convicted.
According to prosecutors, Santos told supporters that their donations would be used to support his campaign when he actually used the money for personal expenses, including designer clothes and car payments.
He also allegedly lied about his finances on congressional disclosure forms and applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed by an investment firm that was shut down by the government in 2021 over allegations of a Ponzi scheme.
Santos, who was released on a $500,000 bond following his arraignment in a Long Island federal courthouse, plans to continue his reelection campaign.
His lawyer, Joseph Murray, asked the judge for permission for Santos to travel freely, but Santos did surrender his passport.
“We finally get to address all of these allegations,” Murray told reporters as he entered court.
The indictment “seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” US Attorney Breon Peace said. “Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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