Brazil: Dead men don’t sign IOUs

Brazil: Dead men don’t sign IOUs
The woman's lawyer claimed that Braga was alive when he entered the bank

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 18 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) — A Brazilian woman made the headlines Wednesday when she was arrested for bringing her uncle’s dead body on Tuesday to a bank in Rio de Janeiro to have him “sign” the pertinent documents to collect a R$ 17,000 (US$ 3,243) loan.

Érika de Souza Vieira Nunes saw her fate sealed when workers at a branch of the Itaú Bank in the Bangu neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro noticed something suspicious about the old man – he was unable to hold a pen and his head upright as the woman insisted he was only resting. Video footage of the scene went viral.

The woman acted normal at all times and asked the dead man to sign the documents, holding his hand and head several times. The man’s pallor and lack of response prompted employees to call the Emergency Services.

The responding medical unit found that the man, identified as Roberto Braga, 68, had been dead for several hours. The woman was arrested and taken to the police station. According to her testimony, she was the elderly man’s niece and the person in charge of his care. She added that her uncle was weak.

According to local media, prosecutors are fine-tuning their case to determine what crime exactly was committed.

De Souza’s lawyer argued that the man was alive when he arrived at the bank. “The events did not happen as they were told. Mr. Paulo arrived at the bank alive. There are witnesses who will also be heard in due course. He started to feel ill, and then there were all these procedures. All of this will be clarified and we believe in Mrs. Erika’s innocence,” solicitor Ana Carla de Souza Correa was quoted as saying by G1, thus contradicting the testimony of a law enforcement officer who claimed that Braga was already lifeless on his way in.

Bank workers started recording the events when they became suspicious of the man’s condition and called the police. The elderly man can be seen in a wheelchair as De Souza constantly tries to hold his head steady and takes the man’s right arm to have him sign the documents.

“Uncle, are you listening? You have to sign it. If you don’t sign, there’s no way,” she told the corpse. “I can’t sign for you, I’ll do what I can,” she insisted. “Uncle, do you feel anything? He doesn’t say anything, that’s just the way he is,” she added as she told the lifeless body that she would bring him “to a hospital.”

The police officer also admitted that it remained to be checked whether De Souza was Braga’s niece and caretaker. — NNN-MERCOPRESS


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