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US Politics

George Santos confesses to theft in Brazil to avoid prosecution

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Washington Post
May 12, 2023 at 11:14
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) leaves federal court in Central Islip, N.Y., on Wednesday. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) leaves federal court in Central Islip, N.Y., on Wednesday. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Rep. George Santos signed a deal with Brazilian prosecutors Thursday in which the New York Republican confessed to theft and agreed to pay restitution and fines if prosecutors agree to drop the criminal case against him, bringing a likely resolution in a case that has tailed the embattled politician for more than a decade.

Santos appeared virtually Thursday afternoon at the criminal court hearing in the Rio suburb of Niterói, during which he was given 30 days to pay around $2,000 in fines and $2,800 to the victim. The case won’t be dismissed until the payments are made, court officials said.

“The case ended today,” Santos lawyer Jonymar Vasconcelos said in a brief interview. “My client is no longer facing any charges in Brazil.”

The deal means Santos, 34, won’t have to fight criminal prosecution in two countries. The first-term congressman, who announced his reelection bid last month, was indicted Wednesday in the Eastern District of New York.

financial crimes, including misappropriating donor money for his personal gain and wrongfully claiming unemployment benefits.

The case in Brazil was never so significant.

According to authorities, Santos, then 19, entered a small clothing store in Niterói called the Salt in 2008 and wrote two bad checks worth $430 for clothing and shoes, court documents show. The merchant soon after went to the police and reported it, leading to a criminal embezzlement charge against Santos.

“I remember because I had to pay that value out of my own pocket,” merchant Carlos Bruno Simões told Folha de S.Paulo last year.

Simões attended the Thursday hearing, which lasted less than a half-hour. He said he was disappointed in how little Santos will be forced to pay him.

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