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7 of George Santos' Most Shocking Claims

Here's the reality check.

February has not been a good month for embattled Congressman George Santos: The first-term New York Republican from Long Island announced he would be stepping down from his committee assignments, and a local poll found that 78% of the voters in his district said he should resign. (He has so far shown no willingness to do so.) The reason: Santos, 34, has been found to have lied about many aspects of his family background, experience, and qualifications—a truly broad range that spans from falsely claiming that his mother witnessing the 9/11 attacks to fabricating where he went to school to claiming to have been a Broadway producer. 

Read on to find out more about the seven most shocking claims George Santos has made and the truth behind them, as uncovered by the New York Times and other news outlets.

His Mother Witnessed the 9/11 Attacks


While he was campaigning, Santos repeatedly told the story of how his mother, Fatima Devolder, was working at her office in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11. In July 2021, he tweeted, "9/11 claimed my mother's life." The New York Times then reported that in a visa application to enter the country in 2003, Devolder said that she had left the country for Brazil in June 1999 and had not returned since. She died in 2016.

His Mother Was Jewish

Fatima Devolder/Facebook

Santos said his mother was born in Brazil to immigrants who "fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium and again fled persecution during WWII." But news outlets, including CNN and The Forward, unearthed genealogy records showing that Santos's grandparents had been born in Brazil before World War II.

"I always joke, I'm Catholic, but I'm also Jew-ish — as in 'ish,'" he then told City & State. "I grew up fully aware that my grandparents were Jewish, came from a Jewish family, and they were refugees to Brazil. And that was always the story I grew up with, and I've always known it very well."

He Produced a Broadway Musical


Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Santos told donors he had been a producer of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Both financial and theater experts pointed out this was a curious boast to make.

The show endured one of the most tortuous development periods in Broadway history, which saw original producer Julie Taymor fired, numerous performers injured, and the show extensively revamped while previews were already underway. It closed in 2014 at an estimated financial loss of $60 million. 

He Worked for Big Banks


During two runs for Congress (the first unsuccessful), Santos claimed he was a veteran of some of the biggest banks on Wall Street. He claimed to have worked as an associate asset manager at Citigroup and at Goldman Sachs. When contacted by the New York Times, both companies said they had no record of Santos ever working for them.

Santos also said that his educational experience included an economics and finance degree from Baruch College and a stint at NYU. When both schools said they had no record of his enrollment, Santos admitted he "didn't graduate from any institution of higher learning."

He Owned More Than a Dozen Properties


During his most recent campaign for Congress, Santos said he and his family owned thirteen properties and was affected by tenants who had not paid their rent. He later told the New York Post that his family owns property, but he doesn't. "George Santos does not own any properties," he said.

He "Lost Four Employees" In the Pulse Nightclub Shooting


Also, on the campaign trail, Santos claimed that he had "lost four employees" in the 2016 Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. There is no evidence this is true. In an interview with WABC radio, Santos said the four employees didn't actually work for his company and were in the process of being hired. "We did lose four people that were going to be coming to work for the company that I was starting up in Orlando," he said.

He Was Never Charged With Fraud

Pen and checkbook
Shutterstock/Billion Photos
After news outlets reported that Santos had been charged with fraud for writing checks with a stolen checkbook in Brazil, he said that wasn't the case. "I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world," he told the New York Post. "Absolutely not. That didn't happen." The New York Times says it has records proving it did happen, and Brazilian prosecutors have said they will be reviving fraud charges against Santos.
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