Embattled New York Republican George Santos stole more than $3,000 from a fundraiser for a disabled veteran’s dying service dog, a new report has claimed.
The report, published Tuesday, contains bombshell claims concerning the GOP freshman, leveled by Richard Osthoff, a disabled veteran who in May 2016 was living in a chicken coop on a highway in New Jersey.
Compounding the 47-year-old’s plight, his service dog, Sapphire, was in desperate need of surgery to remove a cancerous tumor – a life-saving operation would have costed $3,000.
Unable to afford the sum, Osthoff was connected with a man who called himself ‘Anthony Devolder’ – after a veterinary technician took pity on the vet’s situation.
Devolder, the vet tech told him, ran a pet charity called Friends of Pets United (FPU) – a non existent organization recently unmasked as one of the Long Island rep’s alleged scams last month by the New York Times. Santos has been filmed introducing himself using the alias, and admits it’s a name he’s gone by.
Osthoff shared a series of bizarre texts he had with him where Devolder appeared to lead him on before abruptly saying Sapphire was not fit for funding. He accused the GOP freshman of leading to his dog’s death because the delay led to her tumor rapidly growing.
The report, published Tuesday, contains bombshell claims concerning the GOP freshman leveled by Richard Osthoff, a disabled veteran who in May 2016 was living with his sick service dog, Sapphire, off a highway in New Jersey
This is the original appeal shared by Osthoff – an appeal created by Antony Devolder, an alias used by liar congressman George Santos
Osthoff posted hopefully during the fundraising attempt, but things went badly wrong shortly afterwards
Around six months after the appeal, Osthoff broke the bad news that he’d been ‘scammed’ by Devolder – aka Santos
Santos is pictured in the House of Representatives on January 6, as calls grow for him to be forced out of his job
After successfully raising the funds, Devolder allegedly deleted the fundraiser and disappeared with the money, leaving Osthoff – who suffers from severe PTSD – in the lurch. Months later, Sapphire succumbed to her illness and died.
It has since been revealed ‘Anthony Devolder’ was one of several aliases used by Santos before entering politics in 2020. Santos has since been accused of several instances of fraud, facing multiple criminal investigations over allegations he lied about his qualifications for congress.
A recently surfaced video of the 34-year-old politician introducing himself as ‘Anthony Devolder’ at a pro-Trump LGBTQ event.
Despite the scrutiny over his personal and campaign finances and lies about his resume and family heritage, the lawmaker’s has refused to step down from his congressional seat.
In recent weeks, as the extent of the congressman’s lies came to light, Osthoff recognized Santos as the man he knew as Devolder, and subsequently shared his interactions with the presumed scammer with Patch.com.
Patch published a piece Tuesday recounting the veteran’s story, as Santos continues to face scrutiny over the numerous lies about his life story and finances.
‘He stopped answering my texts and calls,’ Osthoff told the outlet, revealing that Saphire died on January 15, 2017, after he was left unable to afford the surgery.
Adding insult to injury, after being out of work over a year with a broken leg, the Navy vet could not afford the dog’s euthanasia and cremation.
He admitted that in order to put his beloved pit to rest, he had to beg on the streets.
‘I had to panhandle,’ Osthoff said. ‘It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do.’
Messages shared by Osthoff show his correspondence with the man who called himself Devolder, who in messages vowed to raise the $3,000 required for the surgery as a gesture of good will.
Santos – who was giving his name as Anthony Devolder – is accused of trying to justify his behavior in this bizarre slew of text messages
However, after Devolder set up the the GoFundMe page for Osthoff and successfully raised the funds, the alleged charity worker suddenly severed contact after months of texting in late 2016.
‘I only talked to him two or three times on the phone,’ Osthoff said, telling Patch that over half of the donations had come from people he knew.
A post penned by the veteran on June 30, 2016, shared with the news outlet read: ‘We made the goal, and then some.’
Another image offered by Osthoff showed a link to the deleted GoFundMe page posted by Devolder to Facebook, in which the alleged scammer sent an appeal to the public for help raising money for the service animal’s surgery.
In it, he wrote: ‘Dear all, When a veteran reaches out to ask for help, how can you say no.’
The GoFundMe was later deleted, and the messages from Devolder suddenly ceased, Osthoff said.
He soon realized he had been duped when the IRS could not find a record of a registered charity with the name Friends of Pets United.
Devolder – since confirmed to be Santos – had claimed Friends of Pets United was a tax-exempt organization he founded in 2013.
Contemporaneous Facebook posts penned by Osthoff mention ‘Anthony Devolder’ and the failed fundraiser. The alias is a name by which many people, including Santos’ former roommates, knew him as before he entered politics.
George Santos is seen in 2019 at a LGBTQ event introducing himself as ‘Anthony Devolder’
Text messages between the two men show how Santos allegedly led Osthoff along for several months long after raising the money, before going dark in December 2016 after claiming Sapphire was no longer eligible, and that the funds would be transferred elsewhere.
In December of this year, The New York Times reported the charity Santos had allegedly touted to the vet was not a registered nonprofit – spurring Osthoff, who instantly recognizing the politician, to share his story.
The veteran told Patch how he first started to suspect something was amiss in July of that year, when instead of scheduling the procedure, Santos told him the New Jersey practice he was told would oversee the surgery could not host the animal.
Instead, the future Queens/Long Island rep insisted he bring Sapphire to a vet in Queens, to which Osthoff obliged in August.
According to Osthoff, he was driven to the practice by the vet tech who had put him in touch with Santos to the practice. Osthoff, sharing text messages to prove his claims, said he was told by Santos that it had to be that practice because he had amassed ‘credit’ with it by regularly using it for his charity.
‘It was a tiny little hole in the wall place, but looked legitimate,’ Osthoff recalled to Patch.
However, once meeting the practice’s presiding doctor, Osthoff said he was told that Sapphire’s tumor was inoperable, an assertion that almost instantly aroused the ex-soldier’s suspicions, since the doctor in New Jersey had made no mentions that the tumor had progressed to such a stage.
‘The vet there said they couldn’t operate on the tumor,’ an emotional Osthoff remembered, adding that he was confused the New Jersey vet didn’t express any similar concerns.
Afterwards, Osthoff said, Santos suddenly became elusive, not responding to calls or messages and seemingly making no effort to see the dog go under the knife.
Text messages shared by the veteran with Patch show some of the final correspondence between the two men, all while Sapphire’s condition continued to deteriorate.
In November, Osthoff texted him to air his suspicions that the surgery and fundraiser had all been a front.
‘I’m starting to feel like I was mined for my family and friends donations,’ one text message published in the Patch report read.
Around that time, Osthoff said, he had one last phone conversation with Santos. The call saw the scammer tell Osthoff that since he hadn’t’ done things ‘my way,’ he put the money from Sapphire’s fundraiser into his charity to use ‘for other dogs.’
Days later, on November 13, 2016, texts show that Osthoff pleased with Santos to let him take Sapphire to another vet.
‘My dog is going to die because of god knows what,’ one message reads.
In reply, Santos provided a rambling reason for not producing on the promised surgery, while writing that it was his fake charity’s ‘credibility’ that allowed them to raise the funds in the first place.
‘Remember it is our credibility that got GoFundme […] to contribute,’ a text from the future congressman reads. ‘We are audited like every 501c3 and we are with the highest standards of integrity.’
Santos, whose parents were born in Brazil, said that his full name was George Anthony Devolder Santos, and he usually went by Anthony
It continued: ‘Sapphire is not a candidate for this surgery the funds are moved to the next animal in need and we will make sure we use of resources [sic] to keep her comfortable!’
Further messages sent in the following days saw Santo vow to take Sapphire for an ultrasound – however, on the conditions that Osthoff could not attend, and that it not be be done at the New Jersey office recommended by the New Jersey veterinarian,
In explanation, Santo wrote it was because the practice would not accept his organization’s funding method. Osthoff told Patch that to this day, he does not know what funding method Santos had been referring to.
A text message from Santos in late November read: ‘And your [sic] not coming for the ride FOPU will handle this from now on only with the animal!
‘We do not drive people around nor do we give them rides we transports animals in need not needy owners.’
After that conversation, Osthoff said Santos stopped responding to his calls. Days later, the GoFundMe fundraiser started by Santos was gone. He tried to reach out to GoFundMe, but did not get a response. That said, back in 2016, the fundraising fundraising company was markedly smaller, and had less resources available to handle fraudulent fundraisers.
Sharing screenshots of his Facebook posts on the matter, Osthoff told Patch that Sapphire eventually succumbed to her cancer in 2017, after being denied the life-saving treatment she needed.
Osthoff was later helped by Michael Boll, a local police sergeant and fellow veteran who at the time led the New Jersey Veterans Network.
Speaking to Patch, Boll confirmed the account, saying he attempted to mediate the situation, but that Santos had been ‘uncooperative on the phone.’
‘I contacted [Santos] and told him, ‘You’re messing with a veteran,’ and that he needed to give back the money or use it to get Osthoff another dog.’
The former Marine added: ‘I told Rich to go to the police, but we had limited information [about Santos].’
Osthoff said that while despondent over the loss of his dog – who he remembered as his ‘Little girl never left my side in 10 years’ after returning home from overseas – he was busy finding a place to live at the time, and did not try to pursue Santos further.
‘As time went on, I guess I stopped thinking about it.’
Boll told Patch that ‘luckily, [Osthoff] was able to get a new service dog right away.’
More than six years later, when news of Santos’ resume fabrications and alleged scams – including his charity for which he made Facebook group around 2015 – Osthoff and Boll recognized him on television, and instantly called each other.
They both would identify him as Anthony Devolder the same man who took the fundraiser money – and thus, his dog’s life – so many years ago.
The politician has since been besieged with calls to resign by both Democrats and Republican – though, for Osthoff, and his late best friend, it is already too late.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that he would not demand George Santos’ resignation, claiming that ‘voters’ have a say in who represents them
He said Saphire’s death worsened his PTSD, along with his mental health. Osthoff told Patch he was ‘crying his eyes out remembering Sapphire’s last day.’
‘Little girl never left my side in 10 years. I went through two bouts of seriously considering suicide, but thinking about leaving her without me saved my life.’
He added: ‘I loved that dog so much, I inhaled her last breaths when I had her euthanized.’
Boll further told Patch of his friend’s sad state at the time: ‘I really felt bad for Rich. He has PTSD, and this dog is his lifeline. When I first heard about it, I thought, this is going to kill him.’
Osthoff is no longer living on the streets, but still wants justice for his late companion.
Santos’ alter-ego, meanwhile, was exposed as the New York Times revealed how many of his lies had been exposed pre-election.
But GOP members and their Democrat rivals were unwilling or unable to stop the then-aspiring lawmaker from campaigning, with many believing he’d fail to beat his Democrat incumbent rival – only to be proven wrong.
Santos – whose parents were born in Brazil, said that his full name was George Anthony Devolder Santos, and he usually went by Anthony – claimed to have graduated from Baruch College and New York University, which was not true.
He said he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, but both companies denied having any record of his employment there.
Santos had been evicted multiple times, had a suspended driving license, and was married to a woman despite being openly gay and living with a man.
Several shady business dealings allegedly carried out by Santos have also come to light, after discrepancies between his wealth on paper and evidence of financial struggles inspired questions over where Santos got the $700,000 he poured into his own 2022 campaign.
It also appears to have had considerable business and political ties to the U.S.-based cousin of a Russian oligarch, a recent report suggested last.
Representing parts of Queens and Long Island, the newly installed member of Congress has admitted to fabricating a wide range of details in his backstory including his education, career, and family heritage over the course of his young political career.
In its bombshell expose last month, The Times revealed that the charity Santos had started under the guise of saving animals was nonexistent.
The full details of the groups activities are not known. Santos created a Facebook page for the charity around 2015, in which several group members shared images of dogs who needed foster homes or donations.
A protester holds a sign that reads ”Resign Santos” referring to Rep. George Santos (R-NY)
The group was archived around 2020, according to Barbara Hurdas, who met Santos when she worked with him at a Dish Network call center in Queens in 2011.
Hurdas said she remembered him starting the charity and sharing links to it on social media after he left Dish in 2012.
Facebook groups cannot be deleted – however, a group, when archived, becomes inaccessible to anyone besides its members,
Earlier this month, as the extent of Santos’ lies came to light, Hurdas reported that the name of the group was changed to ‘The End.’
Santos also posted GoFundMe fundraisers for dogs needing medical care on his now-deleted personal Facebook page, Hurdas said.
Santos – now the subject of several state, city, and federal investigations – is facing increasing pressure to resign, but Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who endorsed Santos and assisted his campaign, has yet to speak out against the congressman.
McCarthy told reporters on Thursday ‘[Santos] has a long way to go to earn trust.’ The speaker added that other members of Congress’ concerns involving Santos will be investigated by the House Ethics Committee.
The lies George Santos has told and the stories he has spun – so far: From fabricating family links to the Holocaust, 9/11 killing his mother, working on Wall Street, recovering from a brain tumor, being of Ukrainian-Jewish descent, and starting a charity
By Katelyn Caralle
Santos says he is of Ukrainian Jewish descent
In one interview, Santos said his family name on his mother’s side was the historically Jewish name ‘Zabrovsky.’
‘My grandfather was born in Kyiv and left in the late 20s and migrated to Belgium where he met my grandmother and then started a family,’ Santos told Fox Digital in February. ‘We don’t carry the Ukrainian last name, for a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refuges or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names or paperwork were changed in the name of survival.’
George Santos was revealed to be a pathological liar after he won the 2022 midterm elections to represent New York’s 3rd congressional district. His lies and fabricated stories span almost every topic from his education background to his family’s heritage
Reports indicate that there have been no successful efforts to find any Jewish or Ukrainian heritage in his family tree according to the Forward.
Santos said in a separate interview in 2020 that he was raised by ‘a white Caucasian mother, an immigrant from Belgium. But Santos’ mother, Fatima Devolder, was born in Brazil, according to her obituary in 2016.
Additionally, newly resurfaced tweets show that Santos, who is Brazilian-American, claimed in July 2020 on Twitter that he was biracial, meaning ‘Caucasian and black.’
Santos’ claims his mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Santos wrote in a July 2021 tweet that he was ‘blocking’ an account with the handle ‘9/11 was a victimless crime’ because his mother was a victim of the terrorist attack.
He wrote, ‘9/11 claimed my mother’s life… so I’m blocking so I don’t ever have to read this again,’ after the user responded to a tweet from Santos regarding immigration.
An obituary for Santos’ mother, however, states that she died in December 2016, which is more than 15 years after the attack took place.
He also confirmed the real date in a December 2021 tweet where he said: ‘December 23rd this year marks 5 years I lost my best friend and mentor. Mom you will live forever in my heart.’
Santos’ campaign website said his mother ‘survived the tragic events of September 11th’ in the South Tower office of the World Trade Center and died ‘a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer.’
A New York Times report had described Santos’ mother as a ‘domestic worker’ or ‘housekeeper.’
His campaign website described his mother as a top executive.
‘George’s work ethic comes from his mother, who came from nothing, but worked her way up to be the first female executive at a major financial institution,’ the website states.
The congressman-elect said in a 2021 tweet that, ‘9/11 claimed my mother’s life,’ however Fatima Devolder died in 2016 of cancer and it’s unclear if it was 9/11-related. It’s also unclear if she was an executive or a housekeeper
Santos said he attended a prestigious New York prep school
The Representative-elect said that he attended Horace Mann School – an elite private school in the Brox where tuition costs $59,800 per year.
‘He began Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx, however, did not graduate from Horace Mann due to financial difficulties for his family,’ read a 2019 biography during his first campaign for Congress, which Santos lost.
‘He obtained a GED during his senior year,’ it added.
The school said, according to CNN, that he never attended.
‘We’ve searched the records and there is no evidence that George Santos (or any alias) attended Horace Mann,’ spokesperson for Horace Mann Prep School Ed Adler said.
CNN reported late Wednesday that the New York Republican never attended Horace Mann School (pictured), an elite private school in the Bronx
Former call center worker Santos’ resume includes time at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup
Santos said that he worked on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup but now says he used a ‘poor choice of words’ when describing his relationship with the two firms.
The incoming congressman worked at a DISH Satellite call center from October 2011 to July 2012.
He also worked for LinkBridge, where, in an attempt to justify his lie, Santos said that he did business with Goldman and Citi and made ‘capital introductions’ between clients and investors.
Santos said he ‘never worked directly’ for either firm.
George Santos (right) poses with his then fiancé at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve
Santos’ claim his family-owned real estate portfolio of 10+ properties
Santos posted on Twitter in February 2021 that ‘my family and I’ had not received any rent on 13 properties allegedly owned by him.
A review property taxes owed or paid for in New York state shows no evidence of ownership.
He claimed to have a brain tumor
On March 30, 2020, at the start of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, an interview with Santos was published on YouTube titled ‘George Santos: A Corona Story.’ The video has since been set to private
In the video, according to Newsweek, Santos tells two men, one wearing a ‘Guns and Freedom’ hat and the other seated by a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag, that he had ‘battled a brain tumor.’
Discussing his health Santos said: ‘I have an immunodeficiency and I also have acute chronic bronchitis. I also battled a brain tumor a couple of years ago and I had radiation done which really lowers your immunity in general.’
Claimed that he lost four employees in Pulse nightclub massacre
During an interview with WNYC, Santos alleged that four ‘people that work for me’ were killed during the June 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 dead.
No connection has yet to be establish between any of the victims and Santos.
Said he was the founder of a charitable foundation
Santos said he founded a tax-exempt animal rights group, Friends of Pets United, which rescued more than 2,500 cats and dogs.
But no records relating to the group’s charitable status could be found by the IRS, nor could either the New York or New Jersey attorney general’s offices uncover documentation confirming Friends of Pets United had been registered as a charity.
Public records, however, show that Santos was previously married to a woman named Uadla Vieira, a native of Brazil, until 2019
In 2016, he claimed $2,250 was stolen in a mugging on his way to pay rent – but cops have no record of the incident
Santos claimed that in 2016 he was mugged on his way to pay his apartment rent in Queens.
In a sworn statement battling eviction, he said $2,250 was stolen. According to Gothamist, he wrote: ‘I have been mugged at approx 1:15 p.m. on 01/15/16 on Queens Boro Plaza, as I was on my way to pay the lawyer.
‘I have gone to the checks cash location located on 31st and 23rd Ave in Astoria to request a stop payment.
‘I am unable to provide a police report today as I was requested to go back Tuesday to pick it up.’
The NYPD, however, have no record of the incident, the outlet reported.
Santos eventually moved out of the apartment as a result of the case and paid the rest of what he owed in rent.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11647303/George-Santos-accused-stealing-3-000-GoFundMe-cash-raised-homeless-disabled-vets-dog.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 George Santos accused of stealing $3,000 GoFundMe cash raised for homeless disabled vet’s dog