While today is not a particular holiday of note, it may in the future go down as Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Day in honor of the day that Congressman George Santos was placed into federal custody after having been charged in a 13-count indictment.
The phrase “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire” is a phrase that is used to taunt a liar, both by children and childish adults.
In this case, however, the use of the phrase for the holiday appears to be warranted.
The charges include seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
Since the New York Times first reported in December 2022 that Santos was not quite the man he claimed to be (indeed, a roommate said he knew him only as Anthony Devolder, which combines his middle name with his mother’s maiden name), it’s been rather hard to track down exactly what is true about the congressman’s life and background, and what is false.
Depending on the day, he could be broke… or rich. Is he Jewish, Catholic, or just Jew-ish. Did family members really perish in the Holocaust or in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001?
Indeed, it’s a challenge to keep up with the bogus claims he’s made so, as a public service, I’ve prepared a list here.
He lied about where he went to high school (Horace Mann, but he has a high-school equivalency diploma and Horace Mann said they had no record of him having attended the august institution), and he lied about where he went to college (he said Baruch, and later said NYU, but later told the New York Post he hadn’t attended any institution of higher learning at all).
He never worked on Wall Street, yet his campaign biography lists past employers that include Goldman Sachs and Citigroup (spokesmen for both companies said separately that there had been no record of an employee by that name) and even testified to this effect under oath in a court case in Seattle. “I am an aspiring politician and I work for Goldman Sachs,” Santos said.
He lied about other past employment as well. He said he had been a vice-president at a business-development company called LinkBridge Investors, yet that company’s founder testified under oath that Santos was a “freelancer” who sold sponsorships for events.
He worked for a company – Harbor City Capital – that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused in 2021 of being a Ponzi scheme.
He did apparently broker the sale of at least one $20 million yacht and financial disclosures from his 2022 congressional campaign showed that he claimed income of between $3.5 million and $11 million.
He lied about his family’s wealth. He claimed that a company he worked for, Devolder, was a “family firm” and it was managing $80 million in assets.
In addition, he fabricated a story about being a landlord with a family-owned portfolio of 13 properties and, in 2008, while living in Brazil, he was charged with stealing the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for and wrote $700 in fraudulent checks. He also lied about having had employees who were victims of the 2016 Pulse night shooting.
Finally, he lied about founding an animal charity called Friends of Pets United, and he seems to have swindled a disabled veteran whose dog was dying.
This may or may not be an all-inclusive list but it’s crucial to note that there has been no word whether the volleyball team at Baruch University, a team Santos lied about being on, that doesn’t even exist at a school he lied about attending, will seek justice as well.
And while he ran for Congress in 2022 on a Republican ticket, it remaims to be seen whether his political ideology isn’t just another entry in his long list of prevarications.
Jonathan Spira contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)