George Santos signs deal to avoid charges on fake checks in Brazil
Court documents reveal that Santos was the subject of a criminal charge for paying for items at a shop in Brazil with two forged checks, including sneakers that he gifted to a friend.
New York representative George Santos has signed a deal after pleading not guilty to charges in the US, with public prosecutors in Brazil, in an attempt to avoid prosecution for faking two checks in 2008.
Santos’ lawyer in Brazil, Jonymar Vasconcelos, stated, “What would have been the start of a case was ended today,” in a text message to AP, adding, “As such, my client is no longer the subject of any case in Brazil.” Vasconcelos declined to provide details about the case since it was conducted under seal.
As seen by the New York Times, court documents reveal that he was the subject of a criminal charge for paying for items at a shop in the city of Niteroi with two forged checks, including sneakers that he gifted to a friend.
During the time of the purchase, which totaled 2,144 Brazilian reais ($1,350 at the time), Santos would have been 19. In his signed confession, he admitted to stealing the checkbook of his mother’s former employer from her purse and recognizing the fake checks as those he had signed, per the court documents seen by the AP.
Subpoenas for him to appear personally or even submit a written defense were ignored, with authorities repeatedly unable to locate him, thus his case was suspended in 2013 - but that changed when he received a US congressional seat as a result of the widespread media focus on him.
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Brazilian prosecutors then petitioned to reopen the case, after which terms were set for non-prosecution.
Santos is due to pay 24,000 reais (about $5,000), according to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, which added that the majority of the amount will be paid to the shopkeeper who received the forged checks and the remainder to charities.
Most famous for lying about his past and his campaign finances, Santos on Wednesday also pleaded not guilty in federal court in New York to multiple charges of fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements.
Santos denied all 13 charges and was released on a $500,000 bond. However, US magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsay ordered the Congressman to hand in his passport and to give notice for any travel outside Long Island, New York City, and Washington DC.
Following his court appearance, Santos slammed the criminal case as a conspiracy aimed at damaging him politically, saying, "It’s a witch-hunt."
Other allegations include his alleged set up of a GoFundMe fundraiser of about $3,000 for a homeless veteran’s service dog, named Sapphire, who had developed a tumor in 2015. However, it later appeared that Santos took off with the funds and ghosted the veteran.