Mar 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

"I’m innocent": George Santos denies allegations in ATM fraud scheme

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) on Friday rejected allegations made by a Brazilian man convicted of fraud that he was the mastermind behind a 2017 credit card skimming scam.

Driving the news: "I’m innocent. I never did anything of criminal activity and I’m no mastermind of anything," Santos told reporters on Friday, per NBC News. "The story's false."

  • The accusations came after Politico published a sworn affidavit from Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha, who alleged that Santos oversaw the ATM skimming scheme.
  • Santos called the story "the newest insanity" and "categorically false" in a tweet on Thursday.

Details: Trelha pleaded guilty in 2017 to a charge of "access device fraud" in federal court for a scam in which card numbers and passwords were taken from an ATM. He served six months in prison before being deported to Brazil.

  • In an affidavit on March 7, Trelha alleged that Santos taught him how to clone ATM and credit cards, and how to use skimming devices to do so.
  • “I am coming forward today to declare that the person in charge of the crime of credit card fraud when I was arrested was George Santos/Anthony Devolder,” he wrote in the statement.
  • Santos' full name is George Anthony Devolder Santos.

Of note: Santos appeared at a 2017 hearing on behalf of Trelha and acknowledged to a judge that they were "family friends." Trelha also reportedly once lived in Santos' apartment in Winter Park, Florida, according to the New York Times.

Zoom out: This is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding the first-term House member from Long Island. Santos faces multiple investigations into fabrications he made on the campaign trail. Several of his Republican colleagues have demanded for his resignation.

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