A List of All the Lies George Santos Has Told

George Santos at a June 2022 campaign event for Lee Zeldin. (Bruce Adler)
Photo by Bruce Adler

U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) is infamous for the unprecedented number of lies he has told about virtually every part of his life from his family history to his career to what he does in his free time. 

Serious questions about Santos’ finances are currently being reviewed by Nassau County, New York State, and federal investigators. Two of Santos’ fellow congressmen have also filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee, asking that it investigate his campaign funds, but it is unclear whether the committee will do so. And a complaint about Santos has also been filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

Republicans in Nassau have formed a united front in calling for Santos to resign, but the Queens GOP chair has said he’ll wait to see if Santos did anything illegal before calling for his resignation. A recent poll showed that 60% of Santos’ own constituents want him to resign, and a petition calling for his resignation has garnered about 34,000 online signatures. Regardless, Santos has repeatedly refused to step down.

Keeping track of Santos’ ever-growing list of lies can be tricky. So here is a list of all the things that Long Island’s laughingstock of Congress has lied about, as far as we know.

george santos campaign funds
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

His education

On his resume, Santos claimed that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Baruch College. He also said that he at one point attended NYU. Neither school has a record of his attendance and he later admitted he lied about going to college. Santos additionally claimed to be an all-star championship volleyball player at Baruch College. Also untrue. In addition, Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx had no record confirming his claims that he attended classes there as a child.

His career

Santos’ resume suggested that he had a successful career on Wall Street, working for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Neither company has any record of his employment. Santos admitted to lying on his resume, but downplayed the blatant dishonesty as “resume embellishment.” Work experience that has been confirmed, however, is his employment at Harbor City Capital, a Florida-based financial firm that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2021 accused of operating a Ponzi scheme. Santos has not been personally implicated. Before that, Santos reportedly worked in customer service for Dish Network.

His family background

In the past, Santos had called himself Jewish, saying he was proud of his Jewish heritage. When pressed on it, he claimed he only ever said he was “Jew-ish.” Santos also said that his grandparents fled to Brazil to escape Nazi persecution during the Holocaust. That was not true, either, genealogists found. They were born in Brazil.

How ties to other tragic events

Santos had claimed that his mother escaped the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and died from a 9/11-related cancer. However, his mom was not in the country in 2001. Santos also claimed that several employees of his company died in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida. An investigation by The New York Times found no ties between any one of the victims and any of Santos’ alleged entities.

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Associated Press

His sexuality (kind of)

Santos has said that he has been openly gay for a long time, but he failed to disclose a 2019 divorce from a woman. He now has a husband, who he proposed to while he was still married to the woman, according to reports.

When images and videos surfaced of Santos dressed in drag, he responded on Twitter saying claims that he did so were “categorically false.” He later responded by saying he was simply having fun at a festival. 

Drag has long been a part of the gay community. Though Santos may not be lying about being gay, his refusal to admit he did drag (defined as “where individuals dress up as the opposite gender, primarily for short periods of time) speaks to his unwillingness to be openly honest about his sexuality. He has also aligned himself with anti-LGBTQ policies such as the Don’t Say Gay bill in Florida.

His charity work

Santos has claimed that he founded a 501(c)(3) charity called Friends of Pets United in 2013. The Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) has no record of its tax-exempt status. Santos has also denied that he stole money from a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the medical bills of a homeless disabled veteran’s service dog that later died.

His wealth

Santos reported making $55,000 in 2020. He soon after claimed that his company, the Devolder Organization, made millions of dollars, but it is unclear how. Santos also contributed $700,000 to his campaign and claimed to own several properties despite being recently evicted from apartments in Queens. He has only addressed these lies so far as to clarify that he does not own any property, including mansions in the Hamptons and the Gold Coast he claimed his family owned.

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Rep.-elect George Santos, R-New York, speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. Santos, who won a seat in Congress in the November election is under pressure to explain himself amid evidence that he fabricated parts of the life story that endeared him to New York voters.AP Photo/John Locher, File

His criminal history

Though Santos admitted to police in Brazil in 2010 that he stole a man’s checkbook, he now denies having committed any criminal acts. Brazilian authorities have reopened the case charging him with fraud. It had been closed after the country couldn’t find him for 10 years.

Hannah Montana appearance

A Wikipedia page for Santos, in which many words were misspelled and listed under his other name, Anthony Devolder, stated that he made appearances on Disney channel shows Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, among other made-up bits about an acting career. It also stated that he began in show business at 17 as a drag performer. The page was last updated in 2011 and has since been taken down.