When Representative-elect George Santos takes his seat in Congress on Tuesday, he will do so under the shadow of active investigations by federal and local prosecutors into potential criminal activity during his two congressional campaigns.
But an older criminal case may be more pressing: Brazilian law enforcement authorities intend to revive fraud charges against Mr. Santos, and will seek his formal response, prosecutors told The New York Times on Monday.
The matter, which stemmed from an incident in 2008 regarding a stolen checkbook, had been suspended for the better part of a decade because the police were unable to locate him.
Nathaly Ducoulombier, a spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office, said that with Mr. Santos’s “whereabouts identified,” a formal request will be made to the U.S. Justice Department to notify him of the charges, a necessary step after which the case will proceed with or without him.
The criminal case in Brazil was first disclosed in a New York Times investigation that uncovered broad discrepancies in his résumé and questions about his financial dealings.
Just a month before his 20th birthday, Mr. Santos entered a small clothing store in the Brazilian city of Niterói outside Rio de Janeiro. He spent nearly $700 using a stolen checkbook and a false name, court records show.
Mr. Santos admitted the fraud to the shop owner in August 2009, writing on Orkut, a popular social media website in Brazil, “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay.” In 2010, he and his mother told the police that he had stolen the checkbook of a man his mother used to work for, and used it to make fraudulent purchases. [Continue reading…]