Brazil is reopening a criminal fraud case against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and plans to have the New York Republican notified by the Justice Department, The New York Times reported Monday.
The charges in question stem from an alleged stealing of a checkbook in 2008, with Brazilian authorities being unable to track Santos since.
Rio de Janeiro prosecutor office spokeswoman Nathaly Ducoulombier reportedly said to The Times that a formal request will be made for the U.S. Justice Department to inform Santos of the charges given that he has now been tracked down.
U.S. and Brazilian authorities alike are not able to force Mr. Santos to oblige to a summons and appear, but Brazilian laws stipulate that he must be notified for the case to proceed, per the Washington Times.
Ducoulombier did not clarify whether or not Brazil would pursue the extradition of Santos. The outlet noted that the U.S. and Brazil have a treaty allowing citizens of one country to be shipped to the other in the event that an alleged committed offense is criminalized in both nations.
Brazilian court records covered by The Times claim that a then-19-year-old Santos spent nearly $700 with a stolen checkbook and a fraudulent name while shopping at a clothing store in Niteroi.
“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,” reported The Times.
Santos is currently facing allegations of dishonest conduct in the United States; the New York congressman addressed some of these accusations in an interview he appeared with guest host Tulsi Gabbard on Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Rep.-elect George Santos to Tulsi: I can explain. pic.twitter.com/dOXDadkpCA
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 28, 2022
Joe Murray, who is serving for Santos’ legal defense, said to The Times Monday that he is “in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client.”
Rep. Santos was sworn in as a U.S. House member on Tuesday.