Watch: Woman wheels dead uncle into bank to sign loan

Érika de Souza Vieira Nunes took the body of Paulo Roberto, aged 68, to an Itaú bank branch, in Bangu
Érika de Souza Vieira Nunes took the body of Paulo Roberto, aged 68, to an Itaú bank branch, in Bangu

Brazilian police have arrested a woman who wheeled a dead man she claimed was her uncle into a bank to have him sign a four-figure loan in her name.

Érika de Souza Vieira Nunes was detained after claiming that the dead man, named as Paulo Roberto Braga, 68, was her uncle and would sign the necessary papers despite feeling unwell.

A video of the macabre incident, in which Ms de Souza Vieira Nunes repeatedly props up Braga’s lolling head while smiling at disconcerted bank staff, went viral in Brazil on Tuesday.

Seated in a rundown wheelchair, he appears unconscious as she tries to put a pen in his hand, resting it on a desk beside his photo ID and the paperwork for the 17,000 Brazilian Reais (£2,600) loan.

‘He’s very pale’

Staff at the bank in Bangu, a middle-class suburb on the western edge of Rio de Janeiro, express their concern for Braga’s health but are waved off by Ms de Souza Vieira Nunes, who tells the corpse to stop giving her a “headache”.

“Uncle, are you listening? You need to sign [the contract]. If you don’t sign, there’s no way, because I can’t sign for you,” she can be heard saying in the video, which staff are reported to have begun recording after becoming suspicious.

One of the bank employees interjects: “I don’t think this is legal. He doesn’t look well. He’s very pale.”

Ms de Souza Vieira Nunes, who claimed to be Braga’s carer as well as his niece, responds: “But that’s how he is. He just doesn’t say anything.”

She then addresses the dead man: “Uncle, if you’re not well, I can take you to hospital. Do you want to go back to hospital?”

In the video, other bank customers can be seen waiting in the background, apparently unaware of the morbid drama playing out in front of them.

Eventually, the bank staff informed Ms de Souza Vieira Nunes that Mr Braga did not appear able to knowingly consent to the loan and called an ambulance. Paramedics confirmed that he was dead and she was arrested.

She has now been charged with attempted theft by fraud and abusing a corpse. An autopsy was being held to establish the cause of Mr Braga’s death, but police have already confirmed that he had passed away several hours before arriving at the bank.

Fabio Luiz, the region’s police chief, confirmed the arrest and said an investigation was under way “to find out if he was alive when the loan was arranged and when it dates from”.

“She attempted to fake him signing for the loan. He already entered the bank dead,” Mr Luiz added.

The disturbing video went viral on Twitter in Brazil, with “cadáver”, the Portuguese word for corpse, the top trending term on the platform at one point in the South American nation.

The incident echoes a nephew’s attempt in 2022, in Carlow, Ireland, to claim the €246 pension of his dead uncle, Peadar Doyle – by dragging the 66-year-old’s body into the local post office.

CCTV video showed Declan Haughney, 41, and his friend Gareth Coakley, 37, pulling Doyle’s corpse, with a hat on, through the town on the way to the post office. Haughney was sentenced last July to two years in prison and Coakley to 18 months.