The new charges in the so-called superseding indictment are: one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission, two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of access device fraud.
Last month, prosecutors disclosed in court papers that Santos has been in plea talks with the government.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have been escalating pressure on Santos by targeting his associates. In August, they indicted a former Santos campaign aide for allegedly impersonating a House leadership aide while soliciting contributions for Santos’ campaign. Last week, another Santos aide, his former campaign treasurer Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty to fraudulently reporting a nonexistent loan that Santos had claimed to have made to his campaign.
That guilty plea appears to have prompted, at least in part, the updated indictment, which describes a scheme in which Santos and Marks conspired to falsely show that his congressional campaign had raised at least $250,000 from third-party contributors in a single quarter in order to qualify for a program run by the Republican National Committee that would provide financial and logistical support to his campaign.
To execute that scheme, prosecutors allege, the two falsely reported to the FEC that at least 10 of their family members had contributed to his campaign and falsely reported that Santos had loaned the campaign a significant amount of money, including a purported $500,000 loan. At the time of that fabricated loan, according to prosecutors, Santos had less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts.
Prosecutors also accused Santos of stealing his donors’ personal and financial information and using it to repeatedly charge their credit cards without their authorization, then transferring the funds to his campaign, the campaigns of others and to his personal bank account.
In one case, Santos allegedly repeatedly charged a donor’s credit card with at least $44,800 in charges.
He then transferred the vast majority of one of those charges — an amount of nearly $12,000 — to his own bank account, according to the indictment.
A lawyer for Santos declined to comment on Tuesday. Santos, who is running for reelection, has said he doesn’t plan to resign from the House and intends to continue his campaign. “I’m going to fight the witch hunt,” he told reporters following his arraignment. “I’m going to take care of clearing my name.”