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George Santos confesses to check fraud in Brazil & agrees to pay fines

Rep. George Santos Photo: Screenshot

Embattled gay Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has confessed to being a thief in a Brazilian case that involved him stealing and forging a man’s checks and using a fake ID to buy clothes.

While appearing virtually in a Brazilian criminal court on Thursday afternoon, Santos confessed and agreed to pay fines in exchange for prosecutors dropping the case against him. He now has 30 days to pay around $2,000 in fines and $2,800 to Carlos Bruno Simões, the merchant defrauded by Santos. The case won’t be dismissed until Santos pays, The Washington Post reported.

Simões told a Brazilian publication that he remembered Santos’ fraud because he was forced to pay the value of the illegally obtained clothing items out of his own pocket. He attended Santos’s court hearing on Thursday and said of his punishment, “He got off super cheap.”

The Brazilian case seems particularly notable considering that, on Wednesday, Santos surrendered to federal authorities in the United States over 13 criminal charges, including charges related to allegedly stealing donated campaign funds to purchase designer clothing.

Santos, who has been caught lying about large parts of his biography, said in the April 17 Macrodosing podcast, “I’m not a thief. I’ve never stolen anything in my life.”

When asked by one of the hosts about his legal troubles in Brazil, he said, “It’s not [alive]. It’s actually dwindling down and being dismissed.”

The Brazilian case involves a fake ID and a checkbook that Santos allegedly stole from one of his mother’s patients. Santos used a check from the checkbook – which had already been canceled – and allegedly presented a fake ID with his picture and someone else’s name in order to buy some clothes and shoes at a store in Niterói, Brazil.

After buying the clothes at the store, a man named Thiago came in trying to exchange the shoes for a different size, saying they were a gift from a friend.

The store became suspicious since two of Santos’s forged checks, meant to pay for the clothes in installments, didn’t have matching signatures. The store contacted the account owner, who said he lost his checkbook in 2006 and closed his bank account.

The store then made the clerk who sold the items, Simões, pay for some of Santos’s purchases, and Simões tracked down Santos on social media. Santos promised to pay but never did, and then Simões turned over Santos’s picture and information to the police.

According to court documents, Santos was called in to speak with police in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In November 2010, Santos’s mother, a nurse, told police that she had the checkbook in her purse and that it belonged to Delio da Camara da Costa Alemao, a patient of hers. She said that her son stole and used four checks from the checkbook.

That same month, Santos confessed to stealing “some sheets” from the checkbook, the documents say. He said he forged the patient’s signature to buy shoes and clothes for $1,313.63. He also claimed to be a professor – which there is no evidence that he ever was – and said he had dual U.S./Brazilian citizenship.

He said that his mother asked him to return the checkbook but that he had already torn the checks to pieces and thrown them down a manhole, the documents say.

Santos “acknowledged having been responsible for forging the signatures on the checks, also confirming that he had destroyed the remaining checks,” the report said, according to an earlier CNN article. The document includes a signed confession from Santos dated November 18, 2010.

In 2011, investigators tried to press charges against Santos, but neither Santos nor his lawyer responded to a judge’s summons. Authorities attempted to deliver a summons to his address, but he wasn’t there, nor was his mother.

In 2013, the court published a statement in the local newspaper telling him to go to court. He never did. The judge suspended the statute of limitations in case he was ever found again.

In 2022, after he had been elected, Santos admitted to lying about much of his history but denied criminal wrongdoing. “I am not a criminal here – not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world. Absolutely not. That didn’t happen,” he said.

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