(The Hill) — Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has been accused of orchestrating a credit card skimming operation in which he schemed to steal information from ATM and credit cards, according to a sworn statement from a former roommate of his obtained by Politico.
The declaration from Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha, who said he met Santos when he rented a room in a Florida apartment from the now-congressman, states he was accused of a federal crime of credit card fraud in 2017 and pleaded guilty. Trelha, who is from Brazil, served seven months in prison and was then deported.
His attorney, Mark Demetropoulos, sent the letter to the FBI, U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and Secret Service office in New York on Wednesday.
Trelha said Santos was known to him as Anthony Devolder, another name that others with ties to Santos have said they knew him by.
He added that he learned from Santos how to clone ATM and credit cards after he started renting the room from him.
“Santos taught me how to skim card information and how to clone cards. He gave me all the material and taught me how to put skimming devices and cameras on ATM machines,” Trelha said.
He said Santos had a warehouse in Orlando, Fla., that housed materials such as printers and blank ATM and credit cards that could be painted and engraved with stolen account and personal information.
Trelha said he went to Seattle and began to steal credit card information from ATM terminals, with the deal being that the profits would be split evenly between the two of them. He decried that Santos threatened his friends after he was arrested to not tell authorities that Santos was the one in charge.
Trelha claimed Santos also stole the money that he collected for his bail. He said he has other witnesses who can back up his statements, according to Politico’s reporting.
The sworn statement is the latest development in potential legal trouble that Santos is facing. He received criticism from members of both parties after reports revealed he made many false statements about his educational, professional and personal background.
Local, state and Brazilian prosecutors have initiated probes into Santos following the disclosures of his false statements. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York has been specifically looking into Santos’ finances, including funds used during his campaign.
The House Ethics Committee formally launched an investigation into Santos last week.
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Audio from Trelha’s 2017 bail hearing also showed Santos falsely told the judge that he worked for Goldman Sachs, one of the many false statements he made about himself during his campaign.