Former Campaign Treasurer for Rep. George Santos Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
On Thursday afternoon, Nancy Marks, the former campaign treasurer for Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Marks admitted to helping craft a fake campaign donor scheme, an operation first reported by Mother Jones in January. Prosecutors allege that Santos played an essential role in that plan.
As Mother Jones reported, Santos’ campaign appeared to have listed more than a dozen major fake donations during his first run for office. A follow-up story showed that Santos’ campaign had falsely claimed that one of his relatives made a $5,800 contribution—the legal maximum at that time—to his 2022 campaign.
Marks admitted on Thursday to listing fake donations to the 2022 campaign. The goal of the scheme was to attract more support from national Republicans by making it seem that Santos had raised more money than he had.
Prosecutors allege that the congressman helped execute the plan and referred to Santos as “Co-Conspirator #1” in the criminal information they filed in the Marks case. Marks stopped serving as Santos’ treasurer in January. Since then, Santos has tried to blame Marks for the false statements within his campaign finance reports, saying that his “former fiduciary went rogue.”
In May, Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges. But that indictment largely side-stepped Santos’ highly suspicious campaign finance practices. With Marks’ plea agreement, Santos could face additional charges in a superseding indictment. The information filed in her case maintains that Marks was not working alone.
Until Thursday, it remained a mystery how Santos could have obtained the more than $700,000 he claimed to have loaned his most recent campaign. Prosecutors allege that both Santos and Marks knew that a $500,000 loan the campaign reported receiving from Santos in March 2022 never actually occurred.
Marks’ consulting company was paid more than $100,000 by the Santos campaign for accounting and fundraising services. She was never particularly careful in hiding her tracks. Santos could have corrected his campaign finance reports at any time this year and come clean about the fake $500,000 loan. Instead, he insinuated that he was able to loan his campaign more than $700,000 in all through secretive business deals.
The fake loan and contributions from donors who didn’t appear to exist weren’t the only obvious irregularities in Santos’ campaign finance reports. Marks and several relatives contributed more than $30,000 to the Santos campaign, with the relatives each giving the legal maximum of $5,800. These donors did not give to any other federal candidates this election cycle.
Marks’ plea agreement comes with a recommendation that she serve between three-and-a-half and four years in prison. This is a breaking news post and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Read more: [Mother Jones](https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/10/george-santos-former-campaign-treasurer-nancy-marks-pleads-guilty/)