Man charged with trying to scam former Rep. George Santos and celebrities

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Federal prosecutors person charged a Texas man they opportunity tried to scam erstwhile Rep. George Santos arsenic good arsenic an actor, a musician and a master jock by falsely suggesting he could thief get criminal charges dropped.

Hector Medina, Jr., was arrested successful his hometown of El Paso, Texas, connected Wednesday, and faces charges successful nan Eastern District of New York.

An FBI affidavit states that nan bureau had been investigating an individual who identified himself arsenic “Michael Soto” who they identified arsenic Medina. The bureau says he targeted individuals “who were, aliases whose family members were, facing criminal exposure" by falsely promising his attempted victims that he "could origin their criminal vulnerability to vanish successful speech for ample sums of money.”

The FBI said that Medina admitted successful an question and reply pinch rule enforcement successful December that he "searched nan Internet for individuals who were successful problem believing that they would beryllium easy targets for his scheme" and that he was trying to get money because he "owed complete $100,000 successful gambling debts."

While Santos, R-N.Y., is not explicitly named arsenic a unfortunate successful nan complaint, specifications successful nan affidavit make clear that Santos is "Individual-1," 1 of 4 victims listed. Santos was expelled from nan House successful December and is presently facing charges brought successful May 2023, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Santos was hit pinch further charges successful October, pinch prosecutors alleging he engaged successful personality theft.

An lawyer for Santos did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

Individual 2 is identified successful nan affidavit arsenic "a publically known character who had been convicted of felonies successful California successful May 2023." Individual 3 is listed arsenic a "publicly known musician who had been arrested successful June 2023." Individual 4 is listed arsenic "a master athlete" whose "family personnel had been arrested successful May 2023."

Ryan J. Reilly

Ryan J. Reilly is simply a justness newsman for NBC News.