RIO DE JANEIRO — A day after New York Rep. George Santos pleaded not guilty to charges in the United States, he signed an agreement Thursday with Brazilian prosecutors to avoid prosecution for forging two checks stolen in 2008.
“What would have been the beginning of a case ended today,” Santos’ attorney in Brazil, Jonymar Vasconcelos, told The Associated Press in a text message. «As such, my client is no longer the subject of any case in Brazil.»
When asked about the details of the non-prosecution agreement, Vasconcelos demurred, citing the fact that the case proceeded in secrecy. The Rio de Janeiro state public prosecutor’s office also declined to comment when contacted by AP.
Court records in Brazil, first discovered by The New York Times, show Santos was charged with criminal charges for using two stolen checks to buy items at a store in the city of Niteroi, including a pair of sneakers he gave her as a gift. to a friend. . At that time, Santos would be 19 years old. The purchase amounted to 2,144 Brazilian reais, then equivalent to about $1,350, according to the indictment filed by prosecutors in 2011.
That followed a 2008 investigation and Santos’ signed confession, in which he admitted to stealing his mother’s former employer’s checkbook from her purse and making purchases, including at the store, and acknowledging the fraudulent checks as those he had signed. according to court documents reviewed by AP.
A judge accepted the charges against Santos in 2011, but subsequent summonses for him to appear in person or present a written defense went unanswered, and with authorities repeatedly failing to determine his whereabouts, the case was suspended in 2013. That he changed after he won a congressional seat and the subsequent flurry of media attention focused on his dubious credentials. Rio state prosecutors then requested to reopen the case.
Under the terms of the non-prosecution agreement, Santos will pay 24,000 reais (nearly $5,000), most of it to the merchant who received the bad checks and the rest to charities, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported, without saying how it was done. got. information. Santos attended the meeting virtually, the newspaper reported. the washington post also reported on the settlement, saying Santos was given 30 days to pay the victim and citing court officials as saying the case will not be dismissed until he does.
The resolution of the case eliminates the possibility that Santos was forced to travel to another country to settle the pending charges; that could have been complicated after he was forced to surrender his passport following recent charges in the US.
Wednesday in New York, Santos pleaded not guilty to charges that he stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, while collecting unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve.