Promised green cards, catfishing, threats: How George Santos’ ex-boyfriends say they were left feeling trapped, manipulated
WASHINGTON– As Rep. George Santos continues to face increasing scrutiny for faking large swaths of his bio, several men have described to ABC News past relationships with the New York congressman — some allegedly when they were teenagers — that they say have become toxic too a barrage of lies told by Santos to try to manipulate and capture her.
The new allegations come as Santos told fellow Republicans at a closed conference on Tuesday that he was stepping down from committee duties.
Several of the men ABC News spoke to said they met Santos as young men, when Santos, who later ran for Congress as an openly gay Republican, was several years older than them.
Leandro Bis said he was 19 when he met Santos at a bar in Manhattan in 2013, when Bis came to town from Brazil. Bis told ABC News in an interview that he knew the now-embattled congressman as Anthony Zabrovski, one of a few aliases Santos has reportedly used over the years.
“He promised me the world”
Bis said that over the next few weeks he began a romantic relationship with Santos, who was 25 at the time. Bis recalled Santos telling him stories about dating supermodels and how they were still begging him to become a model himself.
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But Bis said he would later find out those claims were lies, and the relationship quickly became “toxic” — filled with what Bis said were “manipulative” things Santos said to him to keep him from leaving .
“He promised the world,” Bis said of Santos, who Bis once said he promised to marry him to help him get US citizenship.
“He promised me, ‘Don’t worry,’ and that if I marry him and stay under his ‘wings,’ he’ll get me a green card,” Bis recalled.
At the time, Bis said he felt Santos was trying to set a trap for him.
“If you get a green card from him, you’ll be in his hands forever,” Bis thought thoughtfully. “If you get divorced, you have to leave the country.”
When he first met Santos, Bis said it was a vulnerable time in his life; He was young and it was his first year in the United States on a tourist visa.
“It was an illusion… now I realize he just wanted to get people under his hand,” Bis said. Eventually, after Santos’ “lies” piled up, Bis said he’d decided to return to Brazil.
“Thank God I didn’t believe him [or] stayed longer and married him,” he said.
Santos did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
“The way he is”
Since being elected to represent New York’s 3rd congressional district in November, Santos has come under fire for misrepresenting parts of his biography, including his work history, education, religion and charity work, as well as falsely claiming his grandmother was a Holocaust -Been a victim and so on. His mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Santos has insisted he has committed no crime and has vowed to serve out his term for his constituents, saying it is up to them to re-elect him in two years or vote him out of office. He was given assignments on the congressional committees on small business and on science, space and technology before notifying fellow GOPs that he was retiring from those appointments.
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Santos, who ran as an openly gay candidate, was married to a woman named Uadla Vieira in Manhattan in 2012. She filed for divorce in June 2019 and the marriage was later dissolved that fall. Divorce files are sealed in New York and ABC News was unable to reach them.
Pedro Vilarva, who told ABC News he met Santos through dating app Tinder in 2014, said he shared an apartment with Santos’ wife, not knowing the two were married at the time. Santos encouraged Vilarva to move into the apartment with his then-wife, said Vilarva, who said Santos would introduce her as his “girlfriend”.
Vilarva said that he and Santos started dating when Vilarva was still in high school. “He was 26 and I was 18,” Vilarva said.
Early in the relationship, Santos and Vilarva spent weekends together because Vilarva had his high school classes on weekdays, Vilarva said. The couple dated for about a year until Vilarva said the lies started to pile up.
Vilarva said he only found out about Santos’ marriage months after their relationship began. At that point, Vilarva said, Santos had proposed to him several times and promised to divorce him. But the divorce would not come until years later, after the two had gone their separate ways.
Vilarva said the relationship ended after he started searching online for information about the multiple names Santos used over the course of their relationship.
“He’s like, he lies and then tries to cover up that lie with another lie,” Vilarva told ABC News.
“You are a partner of Santos?”
Kevin Guzman, who says he met Santos over a decade ago, told ABC News that he was romantically pursued by Santos and that he ultimately rejected Santos’ advances.
But that didn’t stop Santos from telling people they were dating, Guzman said.
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Guzman recalls mutual friends asking him, “Oh, are you partners with Santos?” which shocked Guzman since they weren’t romantically involved.
“He wanted me to have a relationship with him, which I didn’t want,” Guzman told ABC News. “Then he made everyone think I was with him.”
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A mutual friend, Yasser Rabello, confirmed Guzman’s portrayal. Rabello, a former roommate of Santos, told ABC News that he remembered Santos lying about being in a relationship with Guzman.
“He was with me all the time back then,” Guzman said. “I didn’t realize how much he had sold it.”
Guzman says his sense of hurt was heightened when he later found out Santos had used his photo on dating apps.
“He hurt me a lot mentally,” Guzman said. “When I hear his name, when I see a picture … I was so scared of him.”
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