© 2024 Marfa Public Radio
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Lobby Hours: Monday - Friday 10 AM to Noon & 1 PM to 4 PM
For general inquiries: (432) 729-4578
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former campaign treasurer for Rep. George Santos pleads guilty to federal charges

Nancy Marks leaves federal court, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, in Central Islip, N.Y. Marks, the ex-campaign treasurer for U.S. Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and implicated the indicted New York Republican in court with submitting bogus campaign finance reports. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
Nancy Marks leaves federal court, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, in Central Islip, N.Y. Marks, the ex-campaign treasurer for U.S. Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and implicated the indicted New York Republican in court with submitting bogus campaign finance reports. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The former campaign treasurer who helped shepherd scandal-plagued New York Congressman George Santos into officepleaded guilty today to federal felony charges in a Long Island courtroom.

Nancy Marks could face up to five years behind bars after admitting to conspiring with a congressional candidate to commit wire fraud, make false statements and commit identify theft, among other crimes.

She didn't speak to reporters after the hearing in Central Islip, New York.

Her former boss, George Santos, who won a first term in 2022 has announced he's seeking re-election. He faces 13 felony counts as part of the same federal inquiry that led to Marks' plea.

Santos, who is expected back in court Oct. 27, has acknowledged lying to voters about much of his personal history.

He invented stories about family members who survived the Holocaust and creating a fictional narrative about his education and professional accomplishments, among other things.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) leaves the Capitol Hill Club as members of the press follow him on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) leaves the Capitol Hill Club as members of the press follow him on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But Santos has also repeatedly denied any criminal wrongdoing, while suggesting in public statements that Marks acted independently while handling public filings for his campaign.

In a statement, however, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Marks "admitted that she conspired with a congressional candidate."

The goal of the scheme, according Peace, was to mislead the public about the state of Santos' finances by "falsely inflating the campaign's reported receipts with non-existent contributions and loans."

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Marks and "the candidate" reported fictional or inflated contributions to Santos' campaign by family members.

They also allegedly lied about a $500,000 loan that Santos claimed he made to his own political operation.

"[I]n fact, the congressional candidate had not made the reported loans and, at the time the loans were reported, did not have the funds necessary to make such loans," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement.

It's not yet clear whether Marks will cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Santos.

According to U.S. officials, she faces up to five years in prison. Santos, who posts often on social media, has yet to comment publicly on this guilty plea.

The congressman remains a member of the Republican caucus in full standing, though he has been stripped of his committee assignments. Many New York state Republicans have repudiated him and said they'll work to unseat him next year.

During her long career as a political money manager, Marks didn't only work with Santos. Before joining his first, unsuccessful campaign in 2020 she served as treasurer for some of the most influential Republican politicians and political action committees in New York state. In 2022 she was a bookkeeper for former congressman Lee Zeldin during his unsuccessful bid for governor.

There's no indication any of the criminal activity described in this plea agreement involved any other politicians.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brian Mann
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.