George Santos’s Treasurer Pleads Guilty To Fraud Involving A Fake Loan Through His Campaign

Nancy Marks, the former treasurer of Representative George Santos’s political campaigns, surrendered to federal prosecutors on Thursday and confessed to her involvement in a fraudulent scheme involving a fictitious $500,000 loan that Santos claimed to have made to his campaign.

Marks, a bookkeeper, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and admitted to inflating financial figures and making false statements in collaboration with Santos, a Republican from New York. Her plea agreement recommends a prison sentence of three to four years.

Appearing before the same judge overseeing Santos’s case, Nancy Marks, aged 58, maintained her composure. She acknowledged her role in reporting false donations and confirmed that the $500,000 loan claimed by Santos was indeed fraudulent. She stated, “I knew that the loan had not been made.”

Prosecutors revealed that Marks and Santos had conspired to inflate the campaign’s fundraising numbers with the aim of reaching a $250,000 benchmark set by a Republican Party committee, which would grant Santos logistical and financial support. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bagnuola disclosed in court that the campaign falsely reported contributions from at least ten members of Marks’s and Santos’s families in a 2021 filing, boosting the campaign’s total to just above the $250,000 threshold with $53,200 in false donations.

The fake $500,000 loan served to enhance Santos’s campaign image by making it appear more well-funded than it actually was, and it also projected an inflated image of Santos’s wealth. Marks was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond, declining to speak with reporters after her court appearance.

Her attorney, Ray Perini, portrayed Marks as a respected campaign treasurer and political operative before her association with Santos, laying blame on him for her fall from grace. He asserted, “This man, with his lies and manipulations, has ruined many a life.”

While Marks waived her right to face a grand jury and accepted the charges, she had not formally agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against Santos, as per her lawyer.

Despite this, Marks’s conviction could significantly impact Santos’s case. In May, Santos was indicted on 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, embezzling public funds, and making false statements on federal disclosure forms. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges. Notably, Santos has not yet been charged with the falsified loan or fraudulent donations reported in family members’ names.

Joseph Murray, the attorney representing Santos, was present in court but declined to comment to reporters. Santos has faced multiple accusations, including pocketing $50,000 in political donations from an unregistered nonprofit, and another campaign staff member was indicted in a separate fundraising scheme in August.

Santos has consistently placed responsibility for his campaign’s finances on Marks, blaming her for any issues or discrepancies. However, Perini refuted this narrative, asserting, “Who benefits from this conspiracy? Who’s the liar? Who came in and told the truth today? This is all about Santos.”

Over the years, Marks handled the finances of several influential New York Republicans, including Santos, former state senator and majority leader John Flanagan, and former congressman Lee Zeldin. Her services extended beyond bookkeeping to include printing and consulting, all conducted from her Shirley, N.Y., home.

Marks also managed the finances of various conservative groups, including the God Guns and Life super PAC and the 1776 Project PAC, a national organization supporting school board candidates advocating restrictions on gender expression and a particular approach to teaching the history of racism in America.

Marks had previously come under federal prosecutors’ scrutiny for alleged involvement in brokering the sale of a ballot line and embezzling money from a client, although she was never charged.

Marks resigned from Santos’s campaign in January following revelations that Santos had fabricated parts of his life story. Questions surrounding Santos’s campaign finances began arising when numerous irregularities were identified. Marks amended his campaign finance reports over 30 times, during which expenses often appeared and disappeared without explanation. Notably, numerous expenses of $199.99, just below the receipt threshold, were made out to “Anonymous” and subsequently vanished from the ledger. This practice resulted in over $365,000 in unexplained campaign expenses.

These discrepancies prompted watchdog groups to file complaints with the Federal Election Commission earlier this year, alleging violations of campaign finance law.

Marks is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2024, while Santos is set to appear in court on October 27.

Information for this briefing was found via the The New York Times, ABC, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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