Federal grand jury charges former Georgetown employee with defrauding the Universityand Riggs Bank, N.A., of more than $300,000
On July 19, 2006, a federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against dos Santos also known as Pedro dos Santos, 39, of Hyattsville, Maryland, for defrauding his former employer, Georgetown University as well as Riggs Bank, N.A., of more than $310,000 over a period of four years. Specifically, the indictment charges the defendant with five counts of bank fraud, two counts of mail fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of first degree theft. The indictment also contains a forfeiture of property count. If convicted of the charges, dos Santos faces a statutory maximum of 30 years of imprisonment under the federal sentencing guidelines and a $1,000,000 fine.
According to the indictment, dos Santos had worked from 1998 until March 2005 at Georgetown University (“Georgetown”). In his most recent position as Georgetown’s Associate Director and Program Coordinator for the Political Database and Brazilian Studies Program, he became familiar with the paperwork and authorizations required for vendors to obtain compensation for their services.
The indictment alleges that between September 2001 to February 2005, dos Santos developed and engaged in a scheme by which he would write, sign and issue, or cause to be written, signed and issued, checks to a fictitious lecturer purportedly for consulting services. Dos Santos created invoices in the name of a fictitious vendor for consulting and guest lecturing services purportedly performed on behalf of the Brazilian Studies Program. To further justify fraudulent payments from Georgetown, dos Santos completed forged expense vouchers that he submitted together with the fake invoices to the Georgetown accounts payable department. After processing these invoices and vouchers, the accounts payable department issued checks as payment for services purportedly performed on behalf of Georgetown. These checks were either picked up by dos Santos from the accounts payable department or sent via U.S. mail to an address dos Santos had designated on the vouchers.
Pedro dos Santos gained control of the funds by depositing the Georgetown checks, which had been written on its federally-insured Riggs Bank account, directly into one or more of his personal bank accounts. Pedro dos Santos also attempted to disguise the illegal source of the stolen money by having one or more individuals deposit some of the checks in other bank accounts. This individual or individuals subsequently withdrew the funds and disbursed these funds to dos Santos in the form of cash or checks. During the course of the scheme from September 2001 to February 2005, dos Santos stole in excess of $310,000 of Georgetown funds that were under the custody or control of Riggs Bank.
The Washington Times reports that dos Santos has fled the country so with could become an extradition case.
Brazilian runs from U.S. theft charges
According to an FBI affidavit, dos Santos called a co-worker in March 2005 after he was confronted about irregularities in his handling of university funds. "I will be in Brazil by the time you get this message," the caller said. The FBI investigator found that dos Santos had been convicted in 1999 on a federal charge of unlawful re-entry after deportation, records show. Georgetown officials declined to comment on whether the conviction surfaced during dos Santos' employment screening. He worked at the university intermittently since 1998, records show. University spokeswoman Julie Green Bataille confirmed only that dos Santos no longer works at Georgetown. She declined to discuss the situation further because it was a "confidential personnel matter." Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, said dos Santos is thought to be in Brazil and that the indictment against him remains outstanding. He said authorities could not comment further on efforts to bring dos Santos to trial in the United States because of Justice Department policy on extradition matters. It is not clear whether dos Santos can be returned to the U.S.