Fact-Checking the George Santos Claims: From Goldman Sachs Employee to College 'Volleyball Star'

Baldwin, N.Y.: Congressman-elect George Devolder Santos joined the newly elected GOP members of the Senate and Congress during a press conference on November. 9, 2022 in Baldwin, New York.
Baldwin, N.Y.: Congressman-elect George Devolder Santos joined the newly elected GOP members of the Senate and Congress during a press conference on November. 9, 2022 in Baldwin, New York.
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Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty George Santos

Less than one week into his new job as U.S. Representative, George Santos has continued to make headlines for various claims made on the campaign trail, on his website and on his personal resumé — many of which turned out to be false.

The fabrications came to light after a bombshell New York Times report revealed that a large portion of Santos' biography could not be substantiated. The allegations that he misled voters about his level of education, previous jobs and family ties to the Holocaust, earned bipartisan condemnation in recent days for misrepresenting himself.

Some of the mystery surrounding Santos' background — particularly when it comes to his finances — has already sparked investigations both at the federal and county level. But even as a growing chorus of lawmakers call on the Republican to resign, previous falsehoods and embellishments made by Santos continue to come to light.

Below, a roundup of some of Santos' claims that have recently been found to be false.

Claim: He worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup

Santos has previously claimed he worked at as an associate asset manager at Citigroup from February 2011 to January 2014, and as a project manager at Goldman Sachs where, according to his resume, he was responsible for "2X revenue growth (300M to 600M)" in roughly seven months.

Neither Citigroup nor Goldman Sachs could verify his employment to the Times (an employee at Citigroup told the outlet they were unfamiliar with his alleged role at the company, and had previously sold off the division which he claimed to be a part of). What's more, the Times reported that in 2012, when he claimed to be working at Citigroup, Santos was working as a call center employee for Dish Network.

Santos told the New York Post that he had "embellished" some portions of his resume but has continued to claim he worked with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup in some capacity.

Saying he "never worked directly" for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, Santos told the Post he served as vice president at a company called LinkBridge Investors, which did business with both financial firms.

"I will be clearer about that," Santos told the outlet, adding: "It was stated poorly."

According to the Times, there is evidence Santos was working for LinkBridge Investors, though it's unclear exactly how long he worked there, or what title he held.

RELATED: U.S. Rep.-Elect George Santos Now Under Federal Investigation for Financial Disclosures: Report

Claim: He graduated from Baruch College, attended New York University and received an MBA

Santos has said he graduated from Baruch College in 2010, writing in a resume given to the the Nassau County Republican Committee in 2020 that he graduated summa cum laude with a 3.89 GPA.

On a biography on the National Republican Congressional Committee's website, he also cited a stint at New York University — a similar claim made on the 2020 resume, where he said he obtained an M.B.A. at the school after scoring 710 on the GMAT.

But Santos told the Post he had lied about his degrees, noting that he did not attend Baruch College or New York University, as he had earlier claimed.

"I didn't graduate from any institution of higher learning," he told the outlet. "I'm embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume. I own up to that ... we do stupid things in life."

Claim: He has Jewish heritage

On the campaign trail and on his website, Santos has previously laid claim to Jewish heritage, saying his grandparents were actually Jewish immigrants who fled persecution during World War II.

After the Jewish newspaper Forward called those claims into question, Santos told the Post: "I never claimed to be Jewish. I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was 'Jew-ish.'"

Claim: He founded an animal rescue organization

A campaign bio claimed Santos ran a foundation called Friends of Pets United, which he claimed saved 2,500 dogs and cats between 2013 and 2018. There is some evidence that such a group existed, with the Times reporting that the organization at one point had a Facebook page and that it held one fundraiser with a rescue group in New Jersey in 2017.

But just how legitimate the charity may have been is unclear, with the group that threw the 2017 fundraiser telling the outlet it never received any funds raised at the event, despite Santos charging $50 a head for entry. What's more, the Internal Revenue Service has no record of a registered charity going by that name.

Claim: He "lost four employees" at the Pulse nightclub shooting

In an interview on WNYC in November, Santos said he "lost four employees" at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016, drawing a comparison between that event and a 2022 shooting in Colorado.

"I condemn what happened in Colorado, just much like at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016, which I happen to, at the time, have people that work for me in the club. My company, at the time, we lost four employees that were at Pulse nightclub," Santos told WNYC. "This is a deja vu moment for me, not something that is really good even going over because it just brings back such tragic memories."

According to the Times, none of the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting appear to have worked at any of the companies mentioned in Santos' biography and a mother of one of the victims said she didn't know of anyone who lost more than two employees, let alone four, in the tragedy.

Santos, who is the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent, also admitted he had been married to a woman in the past — something else that he had previously not disclosed.

Public divorce records show that his marriage ended around the time that he first entered a congressional race, though by the time he had declared candidacy, he had labeled himself a proud gay man who said he's "never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade."

RELATED: Incoming Rep. George Santos Apologizes for 'Embellishing My Resume': 'I Said I Was Jew-ish'

Claim: He was a "star" volleyball player in college

The chair of the Nassau County Republican Committee said that, during his first bid for congress in 2020, Santos claimed to be a college volleyball "star" at Baruch University.

"He said he was a star and that they won the championship and he was a striker," Joseph Cairo, chair of the committee, said in a press conference Wednesday.

As Santos has since admitted, he did not attend the school. And while it's unclear exactly where his lie about playing volleyball stemmed from, Inside Edition reported that the story bears a striking resemblance to the resume of his former boss, Pablo Oliveira.

According to the outlet, Oliveira — who was Santos' boss at financial services company LinkBridge Investors — graduated from Baruch University, where he played on the school's winning volleyball team and was a two-time All-American volleyball player. A LinkedIn profile appears to back up Oliveira's resume, though little is known about LinkBridge itself.

Claim: He owned 13 different properties

On Twitter, Santos has earlier claimed to be a picture of financial success, writing in Feb. 2021 that he owned "13 properties" for which he claimed he had not received rent in more than a year.

But the truth is murkier. The Times reports that Santos' family frequently struggled to pay rent in Queens over the years, and borrowed thousands of dollars from an acquaintance who claimed they were never repaid.

Speaking to the Post, Santos said the family was "engulfed in debt," due to his mother's battle with cancer. "We had issues paying rent at the time. It's the vulnerability of being human. I am not embarrassed by it."

Santos' landlord, Nancy Pothos, told CBS that the lawmaker moved out in August 2022, just months before being elected.

"George Santos does not own any properties," Santos said of himself to the Post, when asked about the claims.

Despite his earlier financial struggles, Santos appears to have thrived since launching his 2022 campaign.

In 2020, when Santos launched his first run for the House, he stated in a financial disclosure that he had no assets and no earned income. But his financial situation appeared to have markedly improved by the time he decided to launch a second run for the House in 2022, with Federal Election Commission filings showing he lent at least $580,000 to his campaign, and $27,000 to his political action committee.

In campaign documents, Santos further claims to have earned millions of dollars in 2021 and 2022 — from a business he launched in May 2021.

Claim: He worked as a producer on the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Bloomberg reports that during his failed 2021 campaign for Congress, Santos told potential donors that he served as a producer on the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a production mired in legal and safety issues after several actors were injured on-set.

The show's actual lead producer, Michael Cohl, told Bloomberg Santos was not involved. The outlet further reports that his name never appeared in any of the show's playbills.

Claim: He appeared on Hannah Montana and in other film and television roles

Politico reports that an old Wikipedia entry for Santos (last edited in 2011) claims that he once appeared alongside Miley Cyrus in an episode of Hannah Montana and also in the 2007 sci-fi film The Invasion.

But as Politico notes, the Wikipedia entry — edited by users with the names "georgedevolder22" and "Devmaster88," both of which seemingly reference a name Santos has gone by in the past — was littered with spelling errors.

One entry, for instance, claimed that Santos "taped his very first movie startting Uma Turman, Chris Odanald, Melllisa George, and Alicia Silver Stone in the movie "THE INVASION." " None of those actors — all of whom's names were misspelled in the entry — appeared in the 2007 film The Invasion, which starred Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

Claim: His mother died due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

While Santos has claimed on numerous occasions that his mother was inside the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, documents obtained by a genealogical researcher appear to show that Fatima Caruso Devolder wasn't even in the United States at the time.

Santos once wrote on Twitter that the 9/11 terrorist attacks "claimed [his] mother's life," and at other times has said his mother died of cancer following the attacks. His congressional campaign website also includes a reference to her death. "George's mother was in her office in the South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, when the horrific events of that day unfolded. She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer," the website reads.

But according to immigration records obtained by researcher Alex Calzareth and made public by The Washington Post, Fatima Devolder was living in Rio de Janeiro at the time of the 2001 attacks.

Rolling Stone reports that no victim advocacy groups could identify his mother among those who entered a victims' compensation claim.

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There are other red flags, in other countries, as well.

According to the Times, Santos had a criminal history in Brazil that had never been resolved, with court records showing that he had been charged with fraud at one point after writing hot checks. The publication also reported that he confessed to the crime and was charged but authorities were later "unable to locate him" for punishment.

"I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world," Santos told The Post. "Absolutely not. That didn't happen."

Earlier this month, Brazilian authorities told the Times they were reviving their case against Santos, now that they had verified his whereabouts.

Brazil isn't the only jurisdiction looking into Santos. Late last month, the Nassau County District Attorney's Office announced it was looking into Santos and reports surfaced that federal investigators had also opened an inquiry into Santos' financial disclosures.

Santos has said he will not resign.