George Santos pleads guilty to fraud in Brazil

George Santos had better have set aside some of those millions of dollars that mysteriously showed up in his campaign accounts (allegedly) because his lawyers must be running up some hefty legal bills that he’ll need to cover. 

And that action isn’t all taking place in New York and Washington. 

One of his lawyers was in Brazil this week, securing a plea deal for him that will avoid a messy trial in that country. The Brazilians had been looking for Santos since 2008 regarding allegations that he defrauded a store clerk out of $1,300 for a suit and a pair of shoes. 

Now the embattled congressman has entered a confession of guilt and agreed to pay slightly less than $5,000 to settle the case.

From CNN:

US Rep. George Santos has signed a deal with Brazilian authorities to avoid prosecution in lieu of a confession, reimbursement for the victim and a fine to the state stemming from a 2008 fraud case, his attorney said.

“From now on, he is not answering to any lawsuits in Brazil,” his attorney Jonymar Vasconcelos said at the Niterói courthouse outside Rio de Janeiro.

Documents obtained by CNN in January showed Santos, a New York Republican, confessed to defrauding a Rio de Janeiro area clerk of $1,300 over clothes and shoes in 2008.

If this story were about nearly any other member of Congress it would be shocking and likely lead to calls for them to resign. Sadly, with Santos, it just feels like the next act of the circus being rolled into the center ring, complete with clowns.

The total bill he has to pay adds up to $4,878.45. The victim, Bruno Simões, will receive approximately $2,800. The other $2,000 will go to the state, but the victim told CNN that the money will be directed to a charity.

Santos didn’t attend the proceeding in person, but he was required to participate via teleconference. He had to publicly declare his guilt to avoid a trial and commit to promptly paying the money that he owes. Did the judge know who he was dealing with? Actually getting Santos to cover a debt and legitimately pay it off with his own money is probably something of a novel experience.

Between all of the charges he’s facing in New York and now this mess in Brazil, it’s still almost shocking to hear Santos plans to continue with not only his term in Congress but his reelection bid. So many other members have resigned in embarrassment for so much less. But not George Santos, apparently. He’s clearly going to keep riding that taxpayer-funded gravy train until the moment he is forcibly thrown off.

Speaking of being thrown off, that could happen in two ways. Kevin McCarthy could schedule a vote to eject him or he could be rejected at the ballot box. Several high-profile Republicans on Long Island are already setting up primary challenges. It would be good to be able to put all of this behind us. Santos has become a cartoonish figure that’s an embarrassment to New York and to the House of Representatives.