BRAZIL: Brazilian prosecutors say they are restarting a criminal fraud case against the fabulist New York Republican representative-elect George Santos as he gets ready to be sworn in on Tuesday.
Santos is suspected of using a stolen checkbook and a false name at a clothing store outside Rio de Janeiro in 2008. Santos is the subject of federal and state investigations into potential criminal activity connected to his two congressional campaigns.
However, because Brazilian officials were unsure of Santos’ whereabouts, the case dragged on for more than ten years.
Santos allegedly admitted to the police in 2010 that he and his mother had stolen a checkbook from a man she had previously worked for and had used it to make illegal purchases.
The following year, he allegedly confessed to the store’s owner on a social media platform in Brazil, writing: “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.”
Even though Santos was charged in Brazil in 2011, he had already left for the US. The investigation was halted because Brazilian officials had to formally inform him of the charges before the case could proceed.
The US Justice Department will receive a petition that Brazilian prosecutors have submitted in court seeking Santos to reply to the allegations.
The maximum punishment for conviction, according to the New York Times, includes five years in prison and a fine.
On his innocence, Santos has claimed. He told the New York Post when the news broke, “I am not a criminal here – not here, or in Brazil, or any jurisdiction in the world. “Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
Santos has acknowledged to fabricate details from his biography, including claims that he attended college and worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. “My sins here are embellishing my resume,” Santos apologetically said.
Additionally, he made an effort to allay concerns that he had misrepresented his Jewish ancestry.
On the website for his campaign, Santos stated that his mother was Jewish and that his ancestors had fled the Nazi dictatorship during World War II.
Santos currently asserts that he is “clearly Catholic,” yet his grandmother claimed that she was Jewish before converting to Catholicism.
He said to the newspaper, “I never claimed to be Jewish.” I claimed to be “Jew-ish” after learning that my mother’s family was Jewish.
Since then, some members of Santos’ own party have called for him to resign. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas stated in an interview that Santos “is certainly going to have to consider resigning”.
While Asa Hutchinson, the departing governor of Arkansas, recently said that Santos’s false statements were “unacceptable” and required an ethics committee investigation.
Also Read: Rep-elect George Santos Admits to Fabricating Details of His Bio