Santos Could Be Hit by Bill He Co-Sponsored

Prosecutors say he scammed pandemic unemployment benefits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2023 5:55 PM CDT
Santos Could Be Hit by Bill He Co-Sponsored
Rep. George Santos answers questions from members of the media, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, outside federal court in Central Islip, NY.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A bill co-sponsored by Rep. George Santos targets one of the federal crimes he is accused of. The Republican is one of 35 co-sponsors of a bill that would make it easier for officials to recover benefits fraudulently obtained during the pandemic, the New York Times reports. According to a federal indictment, Santos collected more than $24,000 in unemployment benefits in New York between June 2020 and April 2021, reports the Washington Post. He allegedly "certified weekly" that he was eligible for the payments—but according to prosecutors, he was employed the entire time by a Florida-based investment company that paid him around $120,000 a year.

Top Republicans praised the bill Wednesday while declining to condemn Santos, the Post reports. They said the freshman lawmaker should be considered innocent until proven guilty. "He’s going to have to go through the legal process," House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said of Santos. "But we’re going to continue to work to root out fraud, and there’s lots of it." Santos was freed on $500,000 bond Wednesday after pleading not guilty to all 13 charges against him, including wire fraud. Outside the Long Island federal courthouse, where protesters called for him to resign, Santos called the case a "witch hunt" and vowed to clear his name, CBS reports. (More George Santos stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.