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Brazilian criminal case to be reopened into George Santos: report

Incoming federal lawmaker George Santos now faces a probe outside of the United States to go with investigations by federal and local prosecutors into the Long Island representative-elect, according to a report.

Brazilian prosecutors told the New York Times Monday that law enforcement authorities intend to restart a fraud case against Santos and will seek a formal response from him to charges that stem from a 2008 incident tied to a stolen checkbook.

The case was suspended more than a decade ago because police could not locate Santos, who has perhaps the largest profile of any incoming freshman rep due to the myriad of lies he spun during his successful campaign.

A spokesperson for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office told the Times with Santos’ “whereabouts identified,” a formal request will be made to the US Justice Department to alert him to the charges. The case will then proceed with or without him and if he is convicted at trial, could face up to five years in prison, the Times reported.

The report comes the day before Santos will be sworn into Congress to represent Long Island’s North Shore communities. The Republican topped Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November’s election, but a laundry list of lies exposed in recent weeks has dogged the 34-year-old.

Santos has acknowledged he lied about his college education, employment history and religious background as he campaigned for New York’s 3rd District House seat.

He came clean to The Post about his fake life story after the New York Times reported last month there was no record he worked at top-notch Wall Street firms and no evidence he graduated from Baruch College.

Santos admitted to lying about his life story as he ran a successful congressional campaign.
Santos admitted to lying about his life story as he ran a successful congressional campaign.

The criminal case in Brazil is connected to allegations he spent almost $700 with a stolen checkbook and a fake name at a clothing store in the city of Niterói outside Rio de Janeiro just before his 20th birthday, the Times reported, citing court records.

He reportedly admitted fraud to the shop owner in August 2009 when he wrote on a popular social media site in Brazil, “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.” 

Then in 2010, he and his mother, who died in 2016, told police he swiped the checkbook from a man his mother used to work for and then made the purchases, the Times reported.

A judge signed off on a September 2011 charge and ordered him to respond to the case, but Santos was already in the US by then, according to the Times.

Santos told The Post he is not a criminal when responding to the Times’ initial story that detailed his alleged fraud in Brazil.

 “I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world,” Santos said. “Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”

A lawyer for Santos, Joe Murray, told the Times Monday, “I am in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client.”

The Republican beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November.
The Republican beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November.

Multiple investigations in the US into Santos are already underway.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is probing his finances, according to CBS News and CNN, as questions have come up about his mysterious spike in wealth.

The New York Attorney General’s Office said it was “looking into a number of issues” connected to Santos and the Nassau District Attorney’s Office also confirmed it was opening a probe into him.

For the Brazil case to move ahead, a judge would need to share prosecutors’ request with a federal Justice Ministry in Brazil, which then sends it to the US Justice Department, according to the Times.

Santos does not need to respond at this point, but needs to be notified of the charge. He could be tried in absentia, the Times reported. 

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