HomeNationalBrazil to reopen probe of George Santos in 2008 checkbook fraud case

Brazil to reopen probe of George Santos in 2008 checkbook fraud case


SANTOS, Brazil — Authorities in Brazil are looking for to reinstate a 15-year-old fraud cost in opposition to George Santos, the newest controversy to hit the New York Republican, who was on account of be sworn in to Congress on Tuesday.

The cost, first reported by the New York Times on Monday, stems from the alleged theft and use of a checkbook in Rio de Janeiro state in 2008, when Santos was 19. Authorities opened an investigation, however suspended it once they have been unable to seek out him. He’s additionally under investigation by the Nassau County, N.Y., district legal professional, who’s probing the “numerous fabrications and inconsistencies” about his biography which have come to gentle since his election.

The talented Mr. Santos: A congressman-elect’s unraveling web of deception

The Rio state prosecutor’s workplace advised The Washington Submit that authorities have been alerted to Santos’ whereabouts by information of his election. They deliberate to file a request for a summons of Santos on Friday, when the courtroom reopens after a vacation break.

Santos, now 34, was in Washington on Tuesday for the opening of the 118th Congress. An individual who answered his telephone Tuesday morning stated “I’m actually busy proper now” and “this isn’t one of the best time” and ended the decision.

An legal professional for Santos stated he couldn’t verify the Brazilian motion. “I’m within the strategy of partaking native counsel to deal with this alleged grievance in opposition to my shopper,” legal professional Joe Murray stated.

Rio state prosecutors allege that Santos spent $700 at a small clothes retailer within the metropolis of Niterói in 2008 utilizing a stolen checkbook and a false title, courtroom data present. Santos acknowledged the incident in a publish on the social media platform Orkut, prosecutors allege, writing “I do know I screwed up, however I wish to pay.” The following yr, prosecutors allege, he advised police he took the checkbook from a person for whom his mom labored.

If convicted of the fraud cost, Santos might be fined and sentenced to as much as 5 years in jail. However given the worth at concern and the absence of prior offenses, a lawyer right here stated, a decide would possible order him to pay a high-quality.

Santos campaigned as a homosexual Republican of Brazilian descent and Jewish ancestry who represented the quintessential “American Dream” for the open seat in New York’s third Congressional District, comprising components of Lengthy Island and Queens. He defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November to flip the seat to the GOP.

He has since admitted to creating false or deceptive statements about his heritage, schooling and work expertise — he referred to as it “résumé embellishment” — however stated he’s not a felony in the US or Brazil. Democrats have demanded his resignation; Republican congressional leaders have been silent.

Nassau County District Legal professional Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican, referred to as the fabrications and inconsistencies “nothing wanting beautiful.”

“The residents of Nassau County and different components of the third district will need to have an sincere and accountable consultant in Congress,” she stated. “If a criminal offense was dedicated on this county, we are going to prosecute it.”

A tiny paper broke the George Santos scandal but no one paid attention

In the US, essentially the most critical questions on Santos relate to his finances and campaign spending.

In a monetary disclosure in 2020, when ran unsuccessfully for the Home, Santos reported that he had no belongings or earned revenue, and cited solely a fee price greater than $5,000. However in a 2022 disclosure, he stated he was price hundreds of thousands, principally from a Florida firm wherein he was the only real proprietor: the Devolder Group.

At one level, Santos said on his campaign website that Devolder was a privately held household agency with $80 million in belongings underneath administration. In his Sept. 6 disclosure, he reported that the Devolder Group had paid him an annual wage of $750,000 in 2021 and 2022 and the corporate was price between $1 million and $5 million.

Paperwork filed with the Florida secretary of state present that Santos organized the corporate in Might 2021. On July 30, 2022, the monetary information firm Dun & Bradstreet estimated that Devolder had a income of $43,688. As a privately held firm, Devolder shouldn’t be required to publicly launch monetary experiences.

Incorrect filings by candidates could draw civil or felony penalties.

Santos’ false and deceptive statements drew consideration quickly after his shock election victory.

In a marketing campaign biography, he claimed his grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, however after a number of information group questioned the declare, Santos stated he was Catholic.

“I by no means claimed to be Jewish,” he advised the New York Post in December. “I’m Catholic. As a result of I discovered my maternal household had a Jewish background I stated I used to be ‘Jew-ish.’”

His claims of getting attended the Horace Mann College, a prestigious prep faculty in New York, and graduating from Baruch School turned out to be false — “I didn’t graduate from any establishment of upper studying,” he advised the New York Post — as did assertions that he labored at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Masih reported from Seoul. Parker reported from Washington. Shayna Jacobs in Washington contributed to this report.

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