Rep. Elect George Santos admitted using stolen checks in Brazil in 2008, documents show – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) — Republican Rep. Elect George Santos admitted stealing a man’s checkbook, which his mother had owned, to buy clothes and shoes in 2008, according to documents obtained by CNN.

The admission came in a statement Santos made to police in 2010, according to 150-page case documents.

Police had suspended an investigation into Santos because they couldn’t find him for nearly a decade. But law enforcement officials in Brazil will do it Resumption of the allegations of fraud against the New York Republican, CNN reported Tuesday.

According to court documents, on June 17, 2008, Santos used stolen checks to make purchases at a store in Niterói, a city outside Rio de Janeiro. When making the purchase, police records say he used an ID card with the checkbook holder’s name and a picture of himself on it.

The police called Santos several times in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to speak with them. Santos’ mother told police in November 2010 that the checks were stolen from a check book she had in her purse, which belonged to Delio da Camara da Costa Alemao, who died a year before she spoke to police, and that her son had used four checks . Santos’ mother was Costa Alemao’s nurse before his death.

Speaking to police for the first time this month, Santos confessed to stealing the checkbook from his mother’s purse and using “some sheets” to go shopping. Santos confessed to forging the man’s signature on two checks to purchase clothing and shoes, which cost approximately $1,313.63 on the day of the forgery, and confirmed it was his signature on the forged checks.

He also told police he is an American with dual citizenship, is white, and is a professor, police documents show.

Santos said his mother, who only found out about the stolen checks about a month after he received them, “desperately” begged him to return the checkbook, but he had already torn up the remaining checks and thrown them down a gully.

“He [Santos] confirmed responsibility for forging the signatures on the checks and also confirmed that he had destroyed the remaining checks,” authorities wrote in an investigative report on Santos. The document containing the confession was signed by Santos on November 18, 2010.

CNN has reached out to an attorney for Santos.

Suspicious controls

Santos signed two checks at the store as if he were the account holder, court documents show. The checks were to pay for the purchase in two installments – scheduled for July 25 and August 25, 2008.

The seller became suspicious after the signatures on the checks didn’t match, he told police. Two days after Santos made the purchases, a man named Thiago walked into the same store with the shoes Santos bought and tried to return them for a different size. He said a friend gave him the shoes and was not aware of any illegal activity.

The seller had to pay the store the amount of the fraudulent purchase in installments, he told police, although the store eventually waved some of the payments for the seller, the store manager told police in 2010. Shortly after the sale, they were able to get the owner of the bank account and talk to him on the phone, the manager said. He said he closed the account in 2006 after losing the checkbook.

Eventually, the clerk was able to track Santos down through social media, and he said Santos promised to pay him back but never did. The clerk gave police pictures of Santos that he found on social media. Screenshots of the conversations between the clerk and Santos are included in the documents obtained by CNN.

Santos told investigators that neither his mother nor his friend Thiago knew about the fraudulent purchases at the time of the crime.

Efforts to find Santos

In June 2011, investigators from the Civil Police requested immediate judicial action against Santos. In September, a judge asked him to respond to a complaint by a lawyer. Neither Santos nor a lawyer ever responded. Three months later, authorities tried to serve a subpoena for Santos at his mother’s former home, but he could not be located and she no longer lived there.

In 2013, neither Santos nor his mother or grandmother could be located at their previous addresses. In October of the same year, an edict was published in the Rio de Janeiro Judicial Gazette summoning him to appear in court after the authorities could not locate him. Santos was given 10 days to defend himself but he never showed up. A judge eventually stayed the statute of limitations so the case could be resumed later if Santos is found, the documents show.

As recently as October 2020, a judicial document said they had never been able to locate Santos to prosecute for the crime.

Brazilian authorities, who have now verified Santos’ whereabouts, will make a formal request to the US Department of Justice to notify Santos of the charges, Maristela Pereira, a spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro State Attorney’s Office, told CNN. Prosecutors told CNN the application would be made after Friday’s reopening.

In an interview with the New York Post last week, Santos denied he had been charged with any crime in Brazil, saying, “I’m not a criminal here — not here, or in Brazil, or in any jurisdiction in the world. Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”

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Sarah Y. Kim

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