(As originally published with more photos, Wed, January 4th 2023, 2:21 PM EST)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest allegation against George Santos isn’t that he lied, but that he stole, and his notoriety could lead to him being charged with fraud by the end of the week.
Police in Brazil said the congressman-elect from New York admitted to using a stolen checkbook in 2008. That was nearly 15 years ago, and Santos was 19 at the time.
CNN first reported the checkbook belonged to a patient of his mother, who was working as a nurse. She had the man’s checkbook, and Santos used two checks from it to buy clothing and shoes at a store outside Rio de Janeiro.
In fact, police documents showed Santos used a fake ID which had the checkbook owner’s name but a picture of himself.
Brazilian authorities said they issued multiple summonses for Santos to respond to the criminal complaint, but he didn’t, and they couldn’t find him.
It wasn’t until two years later that Santos made that alleged confession, in which police said he admitted forging the victim’s name and spending more than $1,300 of his money.
Police also said Santos told them he was an American with dual citizenship, was white, worked as a professor, and that he ripped up the remaining checks from the checkbook and threw them in a manhole.
But with Santos having disappeared again, in 2013, a judge suspended the statute of limitations, so Santos could be prosecuted if he was ever found.
Since then, Santos ran for Congress as a Republican from Queens and Long Island and won. He also faces investigations from both federal and local prosecutors into his campaign spending and lies about his family history, resume and education.
Now, a spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office told CNN they’re going to make a formal request to the US Justice Department to notify Santos of the charges.
Last week, Santos was quoted in the New York Post saying, “I am not a criminal here – not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world. Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
Santos’ lawyer, Joe Murray, told CNN he’s engaging with a local counsel in Brazil to address the complaint.