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A Brazilian man who was convicted of credit card fraud and deported from the United States told the FBI that Long Island Congressman George Santos taught him “how to skim card information and how to clone cards,” and gave him “all the materials and taught me how to put skimming devices and cameras on ATM machines.”
In a letter, obtained by Politico, Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha describes meeting Santos in 2016 when he rented a spare room in his Florida apartment. At the time, Ribeiro says Santos was going by the name Anthony Devolder. Santos reportedly instructed Trelha on the use of credit card cloning material and flew him to Seattle to begin stealing financial information. “My deal with Santos was 50% for him, 50% for me,” Trelha wrote.
Trelha stated to the FBI that following his 2017 arrest, Santos visited him in jail and instructed him “not to say anything about him,” and threatened his friends in Florida. “I no longer have contact with my friends in Florida because they were all afraid of something happening to them,” he wrote.
In an interview with Politico, Trelha elaborated that he agreed to cover for Santos after the now-congressman threatened to have his friends deported, and instead told authorities that he had been working with Brazil-based accomplices. Santos did in fact appear before Trelha’s judge at his arraignment, and even told the judge his now infamous lie that he was an employee at Goldman Sachs.
Trelha also accused Santos of stealing his bail funds. Before coming to visit Trelha, Santos allegedly took $20,000 in cash from a safe with the promise to help hire him a lawyer (El Chapo’s lawyer, to be specific) and then reportedly ghosted Trelha and their other roommate.
Santos is facing multiple criminal investigations by federal authorities, including a probe into whether he stole thousands of fundraising dollars from a disabled veteran, and a check fraud case stemming from his time living in Brazil.
The Department of Justice is also probing the possibility that Santos may have committed campaign finance violations in the course of his two runs for congress.
Last week, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would establish an investigative subcommittee tasked with determining “whether Representative George Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”