According to CNN, U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has publicly denied accusations that he was involved in a 2017 credit card skimming operation.
Per the outlet:
Embattled Rep. George Santos on Friday said he was “innocent” of an allegation that he had orchestrated a credit card skimming operation in 2017 in Seattle that led to the guilty plea and deportation of a Brazilian man.
Santos, according to CNN, professed his innocence to Capitol Hill reporters on Friday.
"Innocent," Santos reportedly said. "Never did anything of criminal activity, and I have no mastermind event."
Politico, in February, published a report covering the alleged credit card skimming operation.
The scheme involved Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha, who claims to be a former roommate of Santos. Trelha was arrested, according to Politico, after "he was caught on a security camera removing skimming equipment from a Chase ATM on Pike Street in downtown Seattle."
Politico reports that Trelha's "plan was to spend a week skimming numbers and making fraudulent cards using gift cards bought at stores." After that, Trelha then planned to spend "another week taking out the maximum ATM withdrawals with pin numbers captured by the skimmers and cameras he installed."
Trelha has pled guilty to credit card fraud. And, he spent several months in prison before being deported to Brazil, his home country.
Significantly, however, Trelha now claims that Santos was the mastermind of the credit card skimming operation.
This past week, Trelha sent a sworn declaration to federal authorities in which he detailed Santos's alleged role in the credit card fraud scheme.
"I am a Brazilian national and was accused of a U.S. Federal crime in 2017 of credit card fraud, pled guilty, and was deported from the United States," Trelha writes. "I saw Congressman George Santos, also known to me as Anthony Devolder, when I saw him recently on television. I know him."
Trelha goes on to state that, in 2017, he "met Santos" when he "rented a room in his apartment in Florida." And, it is there that, according to Trelha, Santos taught him "how to clone ATM and credit cards."
Trelha proceeds to go into detail about what Santos taught him. He claims that the two were supposed to split any profits 50-50. And, Trelha further states that, after he was arrested, Santos visited him in prison and told him "not to say anything" about their relationship.
This declaration is what prompted Santos to declare his innocence to Capitol Hill reporters on Friday.