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    Texas man arrested, accused of trying to scam George Santos, Danny Masterson

    By Zach SchonfeldMychael Schnell,


    A Texas man surrendered to authorities Wednesday over accusations he committed wire fraud by attempting to scam then-Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), actor Danny Masterson and others facing criminal liability.

    According to a newly unsealed affidavit , Hector Medina Jr. sent texts and videos to Santos’s phone falsely suggesting he could get the congressman’s criminal charges tossed in exchange for large sums of money.

    “You don’t know me but, I wanted you to see a face and trust me on what I’m about to tell you. I work with prosecutors and, uh, judges throughout the United States, and I want to give you the opportunity to offer my services,” Medina allegedly said in a July video sent to Santos.

    “I was contacted by some people to reach out to you and see if you wanted to cut a deal,” Medina purportedly continued. “Uh, this only stands for today. If you’re interested, I can get everything dropped, evidence that is on you removed, disappeared. Reach out to me if you’re interested. It’s simple yes or no. Thank you.”

    In one text message to Santos, Medina allegedly wrote, “All I need is for you or someone to wire 900k,” and included a routing number.

    Investigators said Medina, who identified himself to Santos and others as “Mike Soto,” voluntarily admitted to sending the video and other messages when questioned by the FBI. Medina said he devised the scheme because he owed more than $100,000 in gambling debts, according to court documents.

    “I am currently in the initial phases of my representation of Mr. Medina in this matter.  Mr. Medina eagerly anticipates confronting the allegations against him through the formal legal process,” Joseph Veith, Medina’s attorney, said in a statement.

    Santos, who himself faces wire fraud and other charges, is not accused of wrongdoing in the new case, and the charging documents do not indicate he fell for the scam.

    He did, however, report Medina’s efforts to the Justice Department, a person close to the ex-congressman and a second person with knowledge of the matter told The Hill. He handed over the evidence to authorities, the sources said.

    The affidavit also alleges that Medina similarly attempted to scam three other prominent figures, who either faced criminal charges themselves or were related to someone who did.

    Though the documents do not identify any of those individuals, a source with knowledge of the matter said one of them is “That ’70s Show” star Masterson, who was convicted on rape charges in Los Angeles last year.

    Medina faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

    A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where Medina is being prosecuted, said the defendant surrendered Wednesday morning in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

    He will first appear in court there on Wednesday and appear at a later date in Brooklyn federal court, the spokesperson added.

    Medina’s arrest comes just more than three months after the House expelled Santos in a historic vote, making him the sixth lawmaker in history to be ousted from the chamber.

    The December vote — which was the third attempt to eject the New York Republican from Congress — came after Santos was charged with 23 criminal counts and followed the release of a blistering report from the House Ethics Committee that said he “violated federal criminal laws.”

    Santos pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. His trial is slated to begin in September.

    Santos was elected to the House in November 2022, flipping New York’s third congressional district red in a win that elevated his political career as one of a Republican trailblazer. That characterization, however, was quickly brushed aside amid allegations that he fabricated parts of his resume and biography on the campaign trail.

    The congressman was charged with 13 federal counts in May on accusations that he misled donors and misrepresented his finances to the public and government agencies. Authorities filed a superseding indictment in October, slapping him with 10 additional criminal counts on allegations that he inflated his campaign finance reports and charged donors’ credit cards without authorization.

    Despite departing Congress, Santos — who said “to hell with this place” while exiting the Capitol amid his expulsion vote — has continued to draw headlines as a private citizen.

    The former congressman launched an account on Cameo, where he sells videos for a steep price to customers who want him to deliver birthday wishes, a wedding speech, pep talks or other types of messages.

    The price for a video as of Wednesday afternoon was $350.

    Santos sued Jimmy Kimmel last month over alleged fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and copyright infringement on accusations that the late-night host misused the ex-lawmaker’s Cameo videos. The lawsuit alleges that Kimmel submitted requests for videos from Santos by providing “phony names and narratives” that were sent from “fake User profiles” made by Kimmel as part of a “fraud.”

    Updated at 3:43 p.m.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

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