Viral photo claiming to show George Santos’ mugshot is fake

George Santos (R-N.Y.) was arrested on May 10, but his mugshot wasn’t publicly released. An image claiming to be his mugshot was made using a photo taken in January.
Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was arrested on federal fraud charges on Wednesday, May 10. He pleaded not guilty to all 13 criminal counts.

The indictment says Santos induced supporters to donate to a company under the false pretense that the money would be used to support his campaign. Instead, it says, he used it for personal expenses, including luxury designer clothes and to pay off his credit cards.

Santos also is accused of lying about his finances on congressional disclosure forms and applying for and receiving unemployment benefits while he was employed as regional director of an investment firm and running for Congress.

After his arrest, a photo went viral claiming to show the congressman’s mugshot. 


Does the viral photo show New York Rep. George Santos’ mugshot?



This is false.

No, a viral photo doesn’t show New York Rep. George Santos’ mugshot. It’s an edited image that was made using a photo that was taken in January. 


The viral photo is not George Santos’ mugshot and was not taken on May 10, 2023. It is an edited image based on a photo taken by a CQ Roll Call photographer.

According to the caption of the original photo, Santos was pictured outside a House Republican Conference meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 10, 2023. 

The viral image was edited from that photo to make it appear like it’s a mugshot. It was cropped to only show Santos’ face, and slightly manipulated to distort the shape of Santos’ face.

VERIFY was able to trace the photo using TinEye, a reverse image search tool. VERIFY used TinEye’s compare function. In the viral image and in the photo taken in January, Santos’ hair and clothing match..

The only difference between the January photo and the viral image is the cropping done to the photo and the slight distortion of Santos’ face.

Santos’ mugshot was not publicly released by the Department of Justice, or included in their press release about Santos’ arrest and charges. The DOJ didn’t return VERIFY’s request for comment by the time of publication.

Santos’ outfit in the fake mugshot also doesn’t match what he wore to his arraignment on May 10. The Associated Press took photos and video of Santos while he was speaking to the media after his arraignment. 

So, we can VERIFY the viral image isn’t really Santos’ mugshot.

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