Report: Newly-Elected GOP Rep. George Santos May Have Fabricated Significant Portions of his Background, Allegations He Denies

Republican candidate for New York's 3rd Congressional District George Santos, left, t
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The newly-elected Republican Rep. George Santos (NY) may have lied about his résumé as well as other alleged unsavory details about his past, according to a recent report from the New York Times.

Santos made a name for himself in this past midterm election by clinching a victory on the Democrat-controlled Long Island, becoming the first openly gay Republican to win a U.S. House seat as a non-incumbent. While campaigning, Santos described himself as being the “full embodiment of the American dream,” citing his roots as being from Brazilian immigrants before rising to the top of the economic food chain as a “seasoned” Wall Street financier and investor with “a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats,” according to the Times.

On top of claiming that he attended Baruch College, Santos also claimed in his campaign biography that he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs while listing his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, as an example of his philanthropic work. The investigation from the Times called these claims from the 34-year-old Santos into question, with both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs claiming they have no record of him working there. Officials with Baruch College also told the Times that the school has no record of Santos graduating from the school in 2010, as he previously claimed. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also said it could not locate a record of any charity with that name.

The congressman-elect’s personal financials also provided a bit of a mystery, per the report:

His financial disclosure forms suggest a life of some wealth. He lent his campaign more than $700,000 during the midterm election, has donated thousands of dollars to other candidates in the last two years and reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization.

Yet the firm, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is something of a mystery. On a campaign website, Mr. Santos once described Devolder as his “family’s firm” that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure, he described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist.

And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times could find, records of his properties.

Santos also allegedly faces criminal charges of check fraud in Brazil that have not yet been resolved, according to the Times investigation. At the age of 19, he allegedly stole a checkbook from a man that his mother, a nurse, had been caring for and made several fraudulent purchases. He reportedly confessed to the crime two years later and was charged. Brazilian authorities told the Times that the case remains unresolved, being that Santos allegedly did not respond to an official court summons.

Santos also claims in a biography on the website of the National Republican Congressional Committee that he briefly attended New York University, but N.Y.U officials said they could find no record of his attendance. He also told WNYC that four of his employees were murdered in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016, but the Times could not find a single victim to have worked for one of his named firms.

While the IRS could not find evidence of his philanthropic organization, Friends of Pets United, the group does appear to have a history on social media, including a 2017 fundraiser that charged people $50 to attend. However, the anonymous beneficiary of that event said they never received the funds and that Santos routinely made excuses when confronted.

Santos appeared to have a change of circumstance in 2019 prior to his first run for the U.S. House when he worked in business development at a company called LinkBridge Investors. He eventually became vice president there and bounced around to several ill-fated ventures over the next two years.

The New York Times investigation also found that Santos faces a potential ethics violation based on his financial disclosures during the previous election. In response to the report, Santos tweeted a statement from his attorney, Joe Murray, which called it an attempt to “smear his good name” with defamatory allegations. It also cited a misattributed quote from Winston Churchill – “You have enemies? Good. It means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” The quote originated with French author Victor Hugo.


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