Santos denies organizing alleged credit card scam, claims he did nothing ‘of criminal activity’

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) denied that he has done anything “of criminal activity” on Friday in response to an allegation that he orchestrated a credit card skimming operation in 2017. 

CNN reported that Santos told reporters he is “innocent” and that he cooperated with the Secret Service, FBI and “everybody” that asked for his help in the investigation. 

“Never did anything of criminal activity, and I have no mastermind event,” he said. 

Santos’ denial comes after a man named Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha sent a sworn statement to authorities that Santos was responsible for organizing a scheme to steal ATM and credit card information. Trelha pleaded guilty to credit card fraud, served seven months in prison and was then deported back to his home country of Brazil. 

Trelha said he met Santos when he rented a room from the now-congressman in Florida. He claimed that Santos taught him how to clone ATM and credit cards, and he went to Seattle to steal the information from ATM terminals before being arrested. 

Trelha also claimed that Santos made threats toward his friends for Trelha to not reveal his involvement in the scheme. 

CNN reported that Santos denied that he was even roommates with Trelha and said he only met him a couple times throughout his life. 

Audio recordings obtained by multiple outlets last month revealed that Santos appeared at Trelha’s bail hearing in 2017 and claimed to be a “family friend.” Santos falsely told the judge at the hearing that he worked for Goldman Sachs, one of the many false claims Santos has made about himself since he began running for his House seat. 

Santos is facing multiple investigations from the Nassau County district attorney, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and the New York attorney general’s office over the false claims he has made and potential financial misconduct he might have committed. 

Brazilian prosecutors are also investigating him over allegations that he stole a checkbook in 2008 and paid illegal purchases amounting to $700. 

The House Ethics Committee also launched an investigation into Santos last week.

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