Republican New York Rep.-elect George Santos is facing revived fraud charges in Brazil as he prepares to be sworn into office in Congress, prosecutors said Monday.
Santos had previously faced fraud charges in Brazil due to a 2008 incident involving a stolen checkbook, according to The New York Times. Until now, those charges had been suspended because authorities said they were unable to locate Santos.
NEW: Brazilian Prosecutors are reviving the case against George Santos, now that they know where he is. Read here: https://t.co/bOEUWmpith
— Grace Ashford (@gr_ashford) January 2, 2023
Santos, who has been exposed as a serial liar who made numerous false claims throughout his Congressional campaign, confessed to the fraud on a Brazilian social media board in 2009. He spent close to $700 at a small clothing store using a stolen checkbook, according to court records, then later posted that “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.”
He went on to deny any criminality in an interview with The New York Post, saying that he was not a criminal anywhere in the world, including Brazil.
However, a judge approved the fraud charge against Santos in 2011, and ordered him to respond to the case. By then, he had made his way back to the United States.
Brazilian prosecutors will reportedly file a request for Santos to respond to the charge, which will be sent from the Justice Ministry in Brazil to the Department of Justice. If Santos does not mount a defense in the Brazilian case, he can be tried in absentia.
Santos faces a sentence of up to five years in prison as well as a fine if convicted on the fraud charge. (RELATED: Incoming GOP Rep Calls For Ethics Investigation, Possible ‘Law Enforcement’ Action Against George Santos)
American authorities are also investigating Santos for possible discrepancies related to his charitable donations, voter registration and financial history. Santos either admitted to, or was caught lying about, his grandparents being Holocaust survivors, himself being Jewish, his sexual orientation, his college degree and work history. Still, he is slated to be sworn in Tuesday as the Representative for New York’s 3rd Congressional district.