George Santos Chances of Facing Charges After Ex-Roommate's Damning Letter

Representative George Santos was hit with another accusation this week after his former roommate alleged the New York Republican of coordinating a credit card fraud scheme.

On Thursday, Politico obtained a letter that Santos' former roommate Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha recently wrote to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York, the FBI, and the Secret Service accusing Santos of being the "person in charge" of the credit card scheme that Trelha was previously convicted of and deported for in 2017.

"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," the declaration letter said, Politico reported. "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."

The new accusation this week comes as the freshman GOP lawmaker has continued to face legal issues and backlash following his admittance that he lied about his background on his résumé while he was running for Congress in last year's midterm election. In an interview with the New York Post last December, Santos admitted that he "embellished" his résumé, which included claims that he graduated from Baruch College in 2010.

George Santos
Representative George Santos, a New York Republican, leaves his office on January 12 in Washington, D.C. The GOP lawmaker was hit with another legal hurdle this week, after his former roommate accused him of coordinating a credit card fraud scheme. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"I didn't graduate from any institution of higher learning. I'm embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume," Santos told the newspaper at the time.

Meanwhile in a Twitter post on Thursday night, Santos disputed his former roommate's accusation and said, "The newest insanity published by politico is categorically false. Any news organization willing to do good Journalism I'll entertain sitting down with you and go over it all. Be well and stay safe all."

Despite the new accusations levied against Santos by his former roommate, some legal experts have downplayed the severity to Newsweek on Friday.

"The new declaration by a former roommate—someone who pleaded guilty to credit card fraud—is an interesting development," former federal prosecutor and elected state attorney, Michael McAuliffe, told Newsweek. "However, it is unclear where it leads. The former roommate has made numerous previous statements about the fraud scheme, some of which could be inconsistent with what he's now asserting. Several hurdles would need to be cleared including possible statute of limitations issues for certain crimes as applied to Santos. The feds should incorporate the declaration into any ongoing investigation and treat Santos like a subject or target who may become a defendant."

Similarly, Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and West Coast Trial Lawyers president, told Newsweek that "it's unlikely that Santos is prosecuted for the credit skimming scheme."

According to Rahmani, for federal crimes like the one Santos is accused of, there is a five-year statute of limitations.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office would have to try to toll it, which is no easy task. And prosecutors don't like to rely solely on the testimony of convicted felons like Santos' former roommate. Juries don't like criminals, especially snitches," Rahmani added.

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu, who served as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, also told Newsweek that it is "highly likely that federal investigators and prosecutors will follow up, meaning they would look into this new allegation."

In addition to the accusation made this week, Santos is also facing legal issues with his campaign funding, as well as a probe by the House Committee on Ethics.

"Pursuant to the Committee's action, the Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative George Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office," the committee said in a statement earlier this month.

The FBI declined to comment after Newsweek reached out via email.

Newsweek reached out to Santos' press office and lawyer via email for comment. Newsweek also reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York for comment via email.