RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A day after New York MP George Santos Despite pleading not guilty in the US, he signed an agreement with prosecutors in Brazil on Thursday to avoid prosecution for forging two stolen checks in 2008.
“What would have been the start of a trial ended today,” Santos’ attorney in Brazil, Jonymar Vasconcelos, told The Associated Press in a text message. “As a result, my client in Brazil is no longer the subject of a proceeding.”
When asked about the details of the non-prosecution agreement, Vasconcelos declined, citing that the case was kept under wraps. The Rio de Janeiro State Attorney’s Office also declined to comment when asked by the AP.
Court documents in Brazil, first uncovered by The New York Times, show Santos was prosecuted for using two stolen checks to buy goods, including a pair of sneakers, that he had given to a friend at a store in the city of Niteroi . At that point, Santos would have been 19 years old. The purchase totaled 2,144 Brazilian reais, which was about $1,350 at the time, according to the indictment filed by prosecutors in 2011.
This was followed by an investigation launched in 2008 and a confession signed by Santos, in which he admitted to stealing his mother’s former employer’s checkbook from his purse and making purchases, including at the store, and using the fraudulent checks as the ones he signed realized. according to court documents reviewed by the AP.
A judge accepted the indictment against Santos in 2011, but subsequent summonses to appear in person or to present a written defense went unanswered, and with authorities’ repeated failure to trace his whereabouts, the case was dropped in 2013 . That all changed after he won a U.S. court seat in Congress and subsequent media attention focused on his dubious credentials. The Rio State Attorney’s Office then requested a retrial.
Under the terms of the non-prosecution agreement, Santos will pay 24,000 reais (nearly $5,000), with the bulk going to the shopkeeper who received the bad checks and the rest going to charities, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported. without saying how they got the information. Santos attended the meeting virtually, the newspaper reported.
The resolution of the case eliminates the possibility that Santos might have been forced to travel to another country to resolve pending charges; That could have gotten complicated after he was forced to surrender his passport following recent charges in the US
on Wednesday in New York, Santos pleaded not guilty against accusations he stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire while collecting unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve.