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Disgraced U.S. Congressman George Santos denied being the mastermind behind a 2017 credit card skimming scheme that resulted in the imprisonment and deportation of a Brazilian man, who claims to be the gay Republican’s ex-roommate.

In a sworn affidavit, obtained by Politico, Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha alleges Santos, going by the name Anthony Devolder, instructed him on how to clone ATM and credit cards. Santos said the story is false.

“I’m innocent. I never did anything of criminal activity and I’m no mastermind of anything,” Santos told Capitol Hill reporters March 10. 

Trelha served seven months in prison and was deported to Brazil. He told authorities he rented a room in Santos’ Florida apartment and traveled to Seattle to operate the scam with profits to be split evenly between the two men. 

Trelha was arrested April 27. He said Santos visited him in jail, telling him to keep quiet or things would get worse.

Santos can be heard telling a judge he is a “family friend” in an audio recording from Trelha’s May 15 arraignment in King County Superior Court. Santos also tells the judge he works for Goldman Sachs in New York, one of his many admitted fabrications.

The latest scandal adds to a laundry list of headaches for Santos, currently under a House ethics investigation for “unlawful activity” during his 2022 campaign and alleged sexual harassment of a former volunteer aide. Santos is also the subject of federal and state probes into his campaign finances.


Embattled Santos Hit with Sexual Harassment Complaint