Report: Brazilian Fraud Case Against George Santos to Be Reopened

Report: Brazilian Fraud Case Against George Santos to Be Reopened

Law enforcement officials in Brazil expect to revive fraud charges against incoming U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., in a case stemming back to 2008, The New York Times is reporting.

The case, involving a stolen checkbook, had been on hold for nearly a decade because police said they were not able to locate Santos, according to the Times.

Court records reveal that Santos went into a clothing store in Niterói, which is outside Rio de Janeiro, the Times noted. He is alleged to have spent almost $700 with the use of a stolen checkbook and a false name.

The Times reported he wrote on Orkut’s Brazilian social media website in Aug. 2009: “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.”

The next year, Santos and his mother told law enforcement officials that he had stolen the checkbook of a man his mother had worked for, and used it to make fraudulent purchases, the Times said.

In September 2011, a judge approved a charge against Santos and ordered him to respond to the case.

However, in October of that year he was in the U.S. working at Dish Network in College Point, Queens, company records show, according to the Times. Santos had told the New York Post he did nothing wrong.

“I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world,” Santos said. “Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”

Joe Murray, a lawyer for Santos, said Monday: “I am in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client.”

If Santos fails to present a defense in the Brazilian case, he will be tried in absentia, the Times said. If convicted, he could receive up to five years behind bars, plus a fine.

But the Times said a criminal conviction does not necessarily disqualify a congressional lawmaker from holding office. And it is certainly not the first controversy Santos is facing.

Santos, 34, had admitted he fabricated parts of his résumé, including that he graduated from Baruch College and worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He also falsely claimed on his campaign website his mother was Jewish and his grandparents escaped the Nazis in World War II.

His swearing-in ceremony is set for Tuesday.

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