A man convicted of fraud for a 2017 credit card skimming operation in Seattle claims that embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY), his former roommate, was the mastermind behind the operation, documents show.
Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha alleged in a sworn statement sent to the FBI, the US Secret Service New York office and the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday that Santos had a warehouse full of equipment for skimming credit cards and printing fake ones in Orlando, Florida.
Trelha told authorities that Santos provided him with the equipment for the Seattle fraud scheme and showed him how to use it, after demanding a 50% cut.
“I am coming forward today to declare that the person in charge of the crime of credit card fraud when I was arrested was George Santos / Anthony Devolder,” Trelha wrote in the declaration, obtained by Politico on Thursday.
“Santos taught me how to skim card information and how to clone cards. He gave me all the materials and taught me how to put skimming devices and cameras on ATM machines,” Trelha, who was deported to Brazil after his conviction, added.
Trelha and Santos first communicated with each other in the fall of 2016 in a Facebook group for Brazilians in Orlando.
By November 2016, Trelha had rented a room in Santos’ Winter Park, Fla., apartment, according to Politico.
“That is when and where I learned from him how to clone ATM and credit cards,” Trelha alleges.
“He had a lot of material — parts, printers, blank ATM and credit cards to be painted and engraved with stolen account and personal information,” he adds, claiming that Santos gave him some of the equipment stored at his warehouse.
Trelha then claims he flew out to Seattle with a “deal with Santos” in place that “50% for him and 50% for me.”
The scam fell apart when Trelha was caught on a security camera removing a skimming device from a Seattle-area ATM, according to the report.
Trelha writes that he took the fall for the Long Island representative because “Santos threatened my friends in Florida that I must not say that he was my boss,” and he told Politico that the congressman promised to hire the lawyer used by Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – which he did not.
“Santos did not help me to get out of jail. He also stole the money that I had collected for my bail,” Trelha told federal investigators.
New York’s 3rd District representative did make a court appearance in Seattle on behalf of Trelha, telling the judge he was a “family friend.”
During the appearance, Santos trotted out his fake credentials, telling the judge that he worked at Goldman Sachs.
“So what do you do for work?” King County Superior Court Judge Sean O’Donnell asked Santos during a bail hearing for Trelha.
“I am an aspiring politician and I work for Goldman Sachs,” Santos said in reply.
“You work for Goldman Sachs in New York?” O’Donnell clarified.
“Yup,” said Santos.
The lying Long Island Republican is under federal criminal investigation, with the Justice Department reportedly probing possible campaign finance crimes, and also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
Santos admitted to The Post in December that he made-up large parts of his resume while running for office, but adamantly claimed: “I am not a criminal.”
Santos’ office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
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