By now you’ve heard the news that of the 74 individuals being sworn in as new members of the House of Representatives this week, at least one of them fictionalized large parts of his résumé while running for office and is also under investigation for allegedly spending campaign funds on himself.
We speak, of course, of George Santos, who The New York Times revealed last month had lied about, among other things, graduating from Baruch College and working at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. (An ex-boyfriend additionally told the Times that Santos “never ever actually went to work,” surprised him with tickets to Hawaii that didn’t exist, and stole his cell phone.) Subsequent questions have been raised about claims Santos has made regarding his mother’s death, attending the private school Horace Mann, being mugged on his way to deliver a rent check, founding an animal-rescue charity, having grandparents who fled the Holocaust, and being Jewish. (“I never claimed to be Jewish,” the New York Republican insisted in an interview with the New York Post. “I said I was ‘Jew-ish’.”) Also curious: campaign payments linked to a home where Santos and his husband are said to be living, and, per the Times, dozens of campaign expenses that all conveniently cost $199.99, i.e. exactly one cent below the amount at which federal law requires one to keep receipts.
All in all, not a great way to kick off a new job! And as it turns out, Santos—who insists his only “sin” is “embellishing” his résumé—will have at least one other thing distracting him from serving his constituents: the fraud charges he’s about to be hit with in Brazil.
The Times reports that prosecutors in Brazil will re-charge him with fraud at the end of the week, after originally doing so in 2008. At the time, Santos was indicted for stealing a checkbook and then spending the money under a false name, a crime which he admitted to in 2009 to the owner of a store where he spent the money and 2010 to the police. Then, he moved to the United States and reportedly stopped responding to authorities, who didn’t know his whereabouts. Now they do, and apparently are not interested in letting bygones be bygones.
Per the Times:
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 next step for Brazilian prosecutors is to file a petition when the courts reopen at the end of the week requesting that Mr. Santos respond to the charges against him. A judge would then share the request, called a rogatory letter, with the federal Justice Ministry in Brazil, which would share it with the U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the Justice Department nor Brazilian authorities can compel Mr. Santos to respond at this point. But Mr. Santos must be officially notified in order for the case to proceed.