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Justice caught up to George Santos. The gay Republican congressman, lampooned nationwide for his frequent dishonesty, was indicted on 13 charges ranging from defrauding donors to wrongfully claiming unemployment benefits.

Santos, 34, surrendered to authorities May 10 at a federal courthouse in Long Island, N.Y., vowing to fight the charges. 

“It’s a witch hunt,” Santos told reporters, shortly after being released on a $500,000 bond, adding he looks forward to fighting the battle to clear his name. 

The indictment includes seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of lying to the House of Representatives on financial forms and one count of theft of public funds. Wire fraud, the most serious offense, carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison. 

The charges came as no surprise to Yassar Rabello, Santos’ former roommate. 

“The beginning of something good,” Rabello wrote in a message on the international platform, WhatsApp. 

In 2014, Rabello rented a room from Santos in an apartment building in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. He described Santos as a pathological liar obsessed with power and fame. 

“He always wanted to be famous,” said Rabello, who now calls Fort Lauderdale home. “I’m pretty sure he’s enjoying the fame and that everybody is talking about him and doesn’t care if it’s in a bad way.”

Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY), a chief critic of Santos since the beginning of the scandals – when it was revealed he lied about large swaths of his background and education – said Santos must leave Congress one way or the other. 

“If George Santos doesn’t resign, House Republicans have a choice: Either you enable his corruption or you EXPEL George Santos from Congress, but TODAY,” Torres tweeted. 

Santos has refused calls – from both sides of the aisle – for his resignation and recently launched a campaign for re-election in New York’s third congressional district, which covers parts of Long Island and Queens. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given no signal that he will move to expel Santos. 

It took investigators less than five months to charge Santos in the Eastern District of New York. After pleading not guilty at his arraignment, Santos was ordered to relinquish his passports. 

“I will prove myself innocent,” Santos said. 

Perhaps the most egregious of the charges is the false claim of unemployment benefits. Santos allegedly received $24,000 in benefits during the coronavirus pandemic while working for Harbor City Capital, a Florida investment firm that folded in 2021 after the Securities Exchange Commission called it a “classic Ponzi scheme.”


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