The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office have arrested another former San Francisco official: Rodrigo Santos, who served as president of the city's Building Inspection Commission.
Santos was arrested Tuesday on charges of bank fraud and booked into Santa Rita Jail just after 6 a.m., according to inmate logs. He later appeared before U.S Magistrate Judge Alex Tse, who ordered him released on $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is Friday.
If convicted, Santos faces a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which announced its investigation Tuesday afternoon.
As a building commissioner, Santos was in charge of approving modifications to developments across the city. But it's his transactions as the head of a private engineering firm that are now under scrutiny by the feds. Those allegations stem from a complaint filed in January by San Francisco's city attorney accusing Santos of committing permit fraud and writing and cashing fraudulent checks.
Santos’ alleged method for cashing fraudulent checks was deviously simple, according to investigators — he would seize on the word “DBI” in checks he collected from his construction firm’s clients that were intended for the Department of Building Inspection and rewrite the name on the check as “RODBIGO SANTOS,” intentionally misspelling his own name with the “B” in “DBI.”