Washington — A former campaign aide to Rep. George Santos, Republican of New York, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to defraud, admitting she fraudulently reported hundreds of thousands in fake loans that Santos had claimed he made to his campaign.
Nancy Marks — who worked for the embattled New York congressman as campaign treasurer — appeared in New York federal court Thursday afternoon after her arrest.
Marks and Santos “devised and executed a fraudulent scheme to obtain money for the campaign by submitting materially false reports to the FEC on behalf of the campaign in which they inflated the campaign’s fundraising numbers for the purpose of misleading the [Federal Election Commission], a national party committee, and the public,” according to prosecutors.
Court papers filed in Marks’ case do not explicitly name Santos, but describe him and his campaign.
As part of the alleged scheme, Marks and Santos agreed to falsely report to the Federal Election Commission that he had loaned his campaign $500,000, when he had not actually done so and did not have the funds necessary to do so, prosecutors said.
The false reports allowed Santos to meet benchmarks needed to qualify his campaign to receive financial support from the national party committee, according to court documents.
“My office will continue holding accountable those who perpetrate a fraud on the public and the institutions that help maintain transparency in the electoral process,” Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.
Santos was indicted by a federal grand jury in May with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives and one count of theft of public funds.
He pleaded not guilty to all counts and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The New York representative has also been dogged by allegations that he inflated his resume and lied about his past experience to bolster his reelection chances in the 2022 political campaign. He has admitted that he “embellished” his resume.
Santos’ congressional office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Marks charges.
Over the last year, CBS News has tried several times to speak with Marks and discuss her involvement with Santos’ campaign, traveling to the Long Island, New York, library where she serves as a board member.
CBS News has reached out to Marks’ attorney for comment.
Source : CBS News