LONG ISLAND - With less than 24 hours to go until members of the new 118th Congress are scheduled to be sworn in, Rep.-elect George Santos’s nameplate hangs outside the door of his new office in Washington D.C. as federal and local prosecutors continue looking into his backstory.
Calls for the incoming Congressman to step aside are growing louder, after the 34-year-old who flipped Long Island's third district from blue to red admitted to embellishing much of his life - including his education, professional and religious backgrounds.
But before his web of lies started unraveling - The North Shore Leader - a local Long Island newspaper raised flags about Santos’s finances, saying he was involved in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme shut down by the SEC and now questions campaign funds.
"His lies are sociopathic," said Grant Lally, publisher of the North Shore Leader. "He spent maybe $350-400k, but he claimed to have raised and spent $3m. Where’d the $2.5 million go?"
Legal expert Ken Belkin anticipates law enforcement will move expeditiously if charges are appropriate.
"There could be wire fraud, there could be a violation of elections financing, there could be money laundering," Belkin said.
Lally along with many others who have been looking into Santos' life are now wondering what his next move will be.
"If he gets on an airplane and escapes to Brazil before he’s arrested in the United States then Brazil will not extradite him - pursuant to their constitution," he said.
Experts question whether Santos is fit to sit on committees that handle potentially classified information. The Nassau GOP said last week that it won’t be supporting Santos if he seeks reelection in 2024.