GOP Rep. George Santos raised money for a company that the SEC called a Ponzi scheme: report

George Santos
New York Congressman-Elect George Santos speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) annual leadership meeting.David Becker for the Washington Post/via Getty Images
  • GOP Rep. George Santos of New York raised money for Harbor City Capitol in 2020.

  • The SEC called Harbor City a "Ponzi scheme victimizing hundreds," court documents show.

  • Santos did not disclose any income from Harbor City on his campaign financial disclosure forms, according to The Wall Street Journal.

New York GOP Rep. George Santos persuaded at least one person to make a six-figure donation to a company that the SEC says was a "Ponzi scheme," according to The Wall Street Journal and court documents viewed by Insider.

Santos has repeatedly refused to resign after several current and former congressmen have called for his resignation after a bombshell New York Times report revealed that he fabricated a large portion of his resume, including two fake degrees from New York University and Baruch College, both of which he never attended.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Santos was hired to raise money for Harbor City Capitol in 2020, where he secured a six-figure donation from at least one investor. Santos reassured investors that he had raised nearly $100 million and invested his family's money into Harbor City Capitol after their investments failed to deliver returns, the outlet reported.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission called Harbor City Capitol a "Ponzi scheme victimizing hundreds of investors across the United States," in a 2021 civil lawsuit, according to court documents.

"From at least May 2015 and continuing through the present, Harbor City Capitol Corp and its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Johnathan P. Maroney, have raised more than $17.1 million through a series of unregistered fraudulent securities," the civil complaint says.

The SEC and Maroney did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment on Saturday.

A representative for Harbor City Capitol declined to comment on Santos's role within the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The outlet reported that Maroney has said in court filings that he is also the subject of criminal investigations into Harbor City Capitol's activities, but no criminal charges have been filed. Santos did not disclose any income from his time at Harbor City Capitol on his financial disclosure forms when running for office, according to the outlet.

When Santos ran for Congress in both 2020 and 2022, he pointed to his work in the financial services sector as one of the foundations of his bid for office — boasting of his employment at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. However, neither company could locate any records of his employment at their respective financial institutions.

Back on Long Island, top Nassau County Republicans on Wednesday called on Santos to resign from Congress.

But even after the collapse in his support from fellow Republicans back home, Santos has rebuffed the push, pointing to the need to serve his constituents.

In November, Santos defeated Democratic candidate Robert Zimmerman by eight points in a suburban New York swing district by amplifying concerns over inflation and crime.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California — who won a contentious race for speaker last week and must now manage a narrow 222-212 Republican majority — on Wednesday said that voters in Santos' district should decide the fate of the congressman.

"The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, he has to go through the Ethics [Committee]. Let him move through that," he told a group of reporters on Capitol Hill.

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