Santos accused of orchestrating credit card skimming operation

Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) has been accused of masterminding a credit card skimming operation in which he planned to steal information from ATMs and credit cards, according to a sworn statement from a former roommate 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, stated he was charged with the federal crime of credit card fraud in 2017 and pleaded guilty. Trelha, who is from Brazil, served seven months in prison and was later deported.

Her attorney, Mark Demetropoulos, sent the letter to the FBI, the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and the Secret Service’s New York office on Wednesday.

Trelha said Santos was known to him as Anthony Devolder, another name said by others with ties to Santos.

He added that he learned from Santos how to clone ATMs and credit cards after he started renting rooms from him.

“Santos taught me how to skim card information and how to clone cards. He gave me all the materials and taught me how to install skimming devices and cameras on ATM machines,” said Trelha.

He said Santos owned a warehouse in Orlando, Florida, which housed materials such as printers and blank ATMs as well as credit cards that could be painted on and engraved with stolen accounts and personal information.

Trelha said he traveled to Seattle and began stealing credit card information from ATM terminals, with the agreement that profits would be split equally between the two. He lashed out that Santos threatened his friends after he was arrested for not telling the authorities that Santos was the one responsible.

Trelha claims Santos also stole the money he raised for his bail. He said he had other witnesses who could back up his statements, according to the Politico report.

The sworn statement is the latest development of potential legal issues facing Santos. He received criticism from members of both parties after reports revealed that he made numerous false statements about his educational, professional and personal background.

Local, state and Brazilian prosecutors have started investigations against Santos following the disclosure of his false statements. The US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York is specifically investigating Santos’ finances, including funds used during his campaign.

The House Ethics Committee officially launched an investigation into Santos last week.

Audio from Trelha’s 2017 bail trial also shows Santos falsely telling a judge he worked for Goldman Sachs, one of many false statements he made about himself during his campaign.

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