Brazil to revive fraud case against GOP Rep.-elect George Santos

The New York Times reports that Brazilian authorities are planning to revive a criminal fraud case against U.S. Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY). 

This comes as Santos continues to face heavy criticism for apparently lying about several facts in his professional biography.

The allegation

The criminal fraud case that prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro are looking to revive, according to the Times, goes all the way back to 2008.

The Times, for its report, cites court records from the case. According to these records, the criminal fraud case stems from an incident that occurred in a clothing store located in Niteroi, which is a city located just outside of Rio de Janeiro.

The allegation is that Santos, who was 19 years old at the time, used a stolen checkbook and a fake name to pay for $700 in goods.

It appears that Santos had fessed up to what he had done as well.

The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Santos admitted the fraud to the shop owner in August 2009, writing on Orkut, a popular social media website in Brazil, “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.” In 2010, he and his mother told the police that he had stolen the checkbook of a man his mother used to work for, and used it to make fraudulent purchases.

The case goes dormant

The problem, here, was that, despite the fact that the incident occurred in 2008, Brazilian authorities were not able to get a judge to approve the criminal charges against Santos until 2011.

By that time, Santos had relocated from Brazil to the United States, specifically to Queens, New York, where he worked at Dish Network.

Because the Brazilian authorities were unable to locate Santos, they gave up on the case, and it went dormant.

Now, however, locating Santos is no longer a problem. He is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and he is becoming a well-known member at that, following reports that lied in his professional biography about such things as where he went to college and where he worked.

Santos has admitted to some of the lies, but he has insisted, “I am not a criminal.”

What now?

Brazilian authorities are going to contact the U.S. Department of Justice in order to get Santos’s formal response to the allegations.

Santos’s lawyer has stated that he is “in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client.”