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Press Release

CEO of San Diego Financial Firm Charged in Loan Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 13, 2023

SAN DIEGO – The CEO of San Diego-based Ethos Asset Management, Inc., which offers financing to international businesses, was arrested in New Jersey Sunday night in connection with fraud charges in the Southern District of California.

Carlos Manuel da Silva Santos of Portugal was taken into custody in Newark, New Jersey as he arrived in the United States from abroad. Santos made his initial appearance there today after the United States unsealed a complaint charging him with wire fraud conspiracy related to a loan scam. Santos is accused of orchestrating the fraud through his company, San Diego-based Ethos Asset Management, Inc.

According to the complaint, Santos required prospective borrowers to provide an upfront fee in an amount equal to a certain percentage of the loan amount. However, upon receipt of the upfront fee, Santos and Ethos did not disburse the loan as agreed upon by the parties. Santos used the upfront fees to repay other prospective borrowers, issue commissions to his co-conspirators, and to pay for personal expenses.

The complaint alleges that to lure prospective borrowers and to obtain lines of credit from financial institutions in furtherance of the scheme, Santos manipulated Ethos’ balance sheets and real financial account statements to artificially inflate Ethos’ net worth. For example, the complaint alleges that Santos induced at least one victim to pay an upfront fee in excess of $8 million by representing Ethos had $359,088,190.22 in a specific brokerage account, but records established that Ethos had no such account.  Similarly, the complaint contends Santos altered Ethos bank account statements to inflate bank account balances to prospective borrowers, sometimes by more than $100 million than what was deposited in the account.          

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Christopher Beeler and Carl F. Brooker, IV.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 23-MJ-4145                           

Carlos Manuel da Silva Santos                       Age: 29                                   Portugal


Wire Fraud Conspiracy – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1349

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine


Homeland Security Investigations

*The charges and allegations contained in a complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated November 13, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: CAS23-1113-Santos