George Santos could be implicated in fake $500k loan, report says

Mr Santos’s campaign treasurer pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge relating to her management of congressman’s finances

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 10 October 2023 22:14 BST
Comments
Related video: George Santos clashes with interviewer as he is questioned about alleged crimes

Congressman George Santos has become infamous for his seemingly endless string of absurd — and easily debunked — lies, but his latest alleged falsehood may be the one that brings with it the heftiest consequence.

In May, Mr Santos was charged with 13 felony charges stemming from a trio of unrelated financial schemes. He has pleaded not guilty to all of his charges and has denied any wrongdoing.

However, his campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy related to her managing of the congressman's finances, according to the New York Times.

Details from her case have now revealed that a $500,000 loan that Mr Santos lent to his campaign reportedly does not exist.

Mr Santos has not been charged with falsifying the loan or with any other campaign finance violations, but his proximity to Ms Marks's case — both cases are being brought by the same US attorneys and adjudicated by the same judge — opens him up to possible additional charges.

Court documents relating to Ms Marks's case show prosecutors believe Mr Santos wanted to qualify for a Republican campaign programme that provides candidates with logistical, political, and financial support during their runs. However, in order to qualify for it, a candidate must raise at least $250,000 in donations in a single quarter.

They portrayed Mr Santos as "lost and desperate" at the end of 2021, and claimed that when he was short of the needed $250,000 to qualify for the programme, he lied about his financing.

The prosecutors cited text messages and emails that reportedly show that Mr Santos and Ms Marks filed reports claiming the campaign had raised the necessary money. Those reports include references to fake contributions made by relatives who, in reality, never donated.

The fake donations totalled $50,000, which allowed Mr Santos to qualify for the program.

Congressman George Santos is facing 13 felony charges stemming from three unrelated financial schemes
Congressman George Santos is facing 13 felony charges stemming from three unrelated financial schemes (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Three months later, Mr Santos allegedly lied again while he was seeking funding from the national party committee.

In a pitch to the Republican national party committee, Mr DeSantos said that a "key factor" of his success was the "personal and political capital that will allow for a fully funded operation."

In April 2022, Mr Santos filed a campaign finance report that said he lent his campaign half-a-million dollars. However, prosecutors say that money was never deposited, and Ms Marks reportedly admitted to investigators that the loan was completely made up.

The alleged ruse appears to have worked, allowing Mr Santos to portray himself as a well-backed, serious candidate for national political office.

Nancy Marks, Rep George Santos’s (R-NY) former treasurer, has been charged with a felony offence and is set to plead guilty, prosecutors have said
Nancy Marks, Rep George Santos’s (R-NY) former treasurer, has been charged with a felony offence and is set to plead guilty, prosecutors have said (Screenshot / YouTube / Community Library)

The allegedly fictional loan also set Mr Santos up for a potential pay-day; as a congressman, Mr Santos could reimburse himself the $500,000 if he managed to raise enough from donations to cover his personal investment in his campaign. That would have allowed him to skate with $500,000, assuming he could muster the donations.

The mystery half-a-million is not the only curious loan in Mr Santos' campaign ledgers. During his initial run for office, Mr Santos reportedly loaned himself $80,000, despite only pulling a salary of $55,000 at the time.

In 2022, he apparently came into more money; he claimed to have made $750,000 from his salary and more than a million each year in dividends from the Devolder Organisation — his company — despite the business having no website or visible service offerings. Mr Santos previously said the company managed his family's assets, which he estimated to be approximately $80m.

Mr Santos's next court appearance is on 27 October. He has not commented publicly on Ms Marks's guilty plea or the alleged fake loans.

The Independent has reached out for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in