Two weeks ago, a New York Times report on Rep.-elect George Santos presented the New York Republican as a prolific liar. The article touched on a variety of brazen deceptions, covering everything from his educational background to his employment history to his family’s experiences.
But the same reporting touched on a controversy that went beyond his lack of veracity and focused instead on his alleged criminal past.
According to the Times’ account, court records in Brazil showed that Santos, as a young adult, was accused of stealing a checkbook from a man his mother cared for. The future congressman apparently confessed to the crime in 2008 and was later charged.
Santos did not, however, respond to an official summons; a court representative could not find him at his given address; and a local prosecutor told the newspaper that the matter was unresolved.
It’s against this backdrop that the Times ran a follow-up report overnight:
Brazilian law enforcement authorities intend to revive fraud charges against Mr. Santos, and will seek his formal response, prosecutors said on Monday. ... 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.
Evidently, the charge was suspended in Brazil because local law enforcement was unable to locate him. Now, however, everyone knows where Santos is.
Note, last week, as part of the Republican’s defense, Santos spoke to the New York Post, which noted the alleged check fraud. “I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world,” he said. “Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
Of course, there’s no way of knowing whether the denial has merit — Santos doesn’t exactly have a lot of credibility right now — and Brazilian authorities apparently intend to pursue the matter anyway.
So, let’s take stock.
The New York attorney general’s office has taken an interest in Santos and his alleged misconduct.
Nassau County district attorney’s office is also investigating Santos.
The Queens district attorney’s office also wants to know whether Santos committed any crimes related to his congressional campaign.
Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York have also opened an investigation into Santos.
And now, Brazilian authorities are reportedly reviving a fraud case against Santos.
Some politicians have to work a very long time before they draw the attention of local, state, federal and international law enforcement. Santos, however, is a special case: He hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and he’s already facing five investigations.