As the new year unfolds, so does the shadowy past of Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who has fabricated much of his resumé and life story. His lies and inconsistencies were placed center-stage just weeks before the new Congress convened by an expose in the New York Times, after which he confessed to some “embellishments” while dodging questions about others.
The freshman congressman has made many claims that wound up to be false, or at least dubious: that he was born, bred and educated in New York; that he worked at major financial institutions including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan; and that his family owned a multi-million dollar company. What’s clear is the biography he touted on the campaign trail doesn’t align with the paper trail he’s left behind.
Below is a timeline of claims Santos made — and the truth about them — leading up to his election to Congress.
July 22, 1988
Santos is born to Brazilian parents Fatima Aziza Caruso Horta Devolder and Gercino Antonio dos Santos Jr. Santos’ date of birth is listed on Brazilian court documents.
He has claimed he was born in Queens, and that he has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Brazil through his parents.
Santos and his mother are in Brazil.
Santos has claimed on his website and in interviews that around this time he attended Horace Mann Prep, a prestigious private school in the Bronx, but he was forced to drop out because his parents experienced financial issues stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. This story was, apparently, untrue. “We’ve searched the records and there is no evidence that George Santos (or any alias) attended Horace Mann,” a spokesperson for the school told CNN.
That year, in Brazil, Santos steals a checkbook belonging to one of his mother’s clients, according to Brazilian press reports and court records. He uses it to buy hundreds of dollars of clothes and shoes at a shop in Niterói, a suburb outside of Rio de Janeiro.
Santos seemed to deny the incident in an interview with the New York Post, saying, “I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world. Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
Santos reportedly admits to the Niterói store owner that he had used the checks fraudulently. “I know I screwed up, but I want to pay,” he allegedly messaged the store owner via Orkut, a Google-operated social media site popular at the time in Brazil.
Santos and his mother speak with police, and Santos reportedly admits to Brazilian law enforcement that he stole the checks.
He’s claimed in numerous biographies that he graduated from Baruch College with a degree in economics and finance this year, but officials from the school couldn’t find a record of anyone matching his name or birthday graduating that year.
A judge in Rio de Janeiro approves a charge against Santos, but police are unable to find him. They eventually suspend their investigation.
Santos is, by this point, apparently no longer in Brazil. He is in Queens, NY, working at a Dish Networks call center, according to the New York Times.
Santos leaves his job at the Dish Networks call center, according to the New York Times.
Maria Tulumba, a landlord in Queens, files an eviction suit in housing court accusing Santos of owing $2,250 in unpaid rent, according to court records. Santos said in a sworn affidavit that he couldn’t pay because he had been mugged.
Santos faces another eviction case from his rent-stabilized Queens apartment, where he allegedly owed over $10,000 from five months of unpaid rent, according to court records.
Santos launches his first run to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District in the House. Election analysts rate the district as almost certain to be held by Democrats.
Santos files a campaign disclosure form where he declared his earnings of $55,000 in salary, commission and bonuses from LinkBridge Investors.
Harbor City Capital announces Santos has been hired. He would say in an Oct. 2020 interview that he was Harbor Capital’s New York regional director, and that he took a leave of absence on Aug. 1, within months of being hired, to run for office.
November 17, 2020
Santos loses his first congressional race to Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi.
February 8, 2021
Santos tweets that his family hadn’t been paid rent on their 13 properties in a year. There’s no evidence that Santos or his family owns any properties in New York.
Santos announces his second run for office. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Santos claims he stepped aside from all his business obligations to focus on his campaign.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Harbor City Capital of operating a Ponzi scheme which allegedly mishandled $6 million from investors. Santos has said he left the company the month before.
Santos incorporates the Devolder Organization in Florida with Devaughn Dames, an accountant who served as Harbor City’s chief financial officer.
Santos’ campaign website still claims that Santos is Harbor City’s regional director, and says that he “oversees the firm’s expansion within the private wealth side of the business.” Santos later tells the Daily Beast this was an “oversight” and claims that he was “just an account manager” at the company.
March 31, 2022
Santos loans his congressional campaign over $500,000, according to FEC filings. Reporters have sought answers on where the money came from considering his last reported salary was $55,000 annually.
A court-appointed expert finalizes new maps for New York’s congressional seats, bringing a drawn-out battle over redistricting in the state to a close. NY-03 has been redrawn, and Santos now has a far better chance of winning.
September 6, 2022
Santos files a campaign disclosure form listing between $1 and $5 million in assets from the Devolder Organization and an apartment in Rio de Janeiro.
Santos is elected to represent New York’s Third Congressional District.