George Santos accused of stealing GoFundMe money from a dying dog


There was a report by Patch about what may be the lowest of lows for George Santos. It’s the story of Richard Osthoff, a disabled veteran who was living on the street in New Jersey with his service dog Sapphire. The dog had been given to him by a veteran’s charity group.

In 2016, Osthoff discovered that Sapphire had a growing tumor which would cost $3,000 to remove surgically. Osthoff didn’t have the money but was given a tip that there was a charity that could help.

When a veterinary clinic told Osthoff the price of Sapphire’s surgery in 2016, it connected him with a man named Anthony Devolder and his pet charity, Friends of Pets United, to help raise money.

Anthony Devolder is a known alias Santos used before entering politics and the lawmaker has previously said he founded Friends of Pets United, though the New York Times reports there are no IRS documents to validate his claim.

Osthoff, as well as New Jersey Marine Corps veteran Michael Boll, who intervened on Osthoff’s behalf, told Patch that Devolder set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money but closed it after it hit the fundraising goal and refused to hand over the money.

Devolder allegedly claimed the dog’s condition was untreatable and did not allow Osthoff to take the funds to other clinics, telling the veteran the funds would be used by the charity to help “other dogs” and ultimately stopped communicating.

Santos denied the allegation and called the story a “fake” in a text to Semafor, adding that he has “no clue who this is.”

“I’m starting to feel like I was mined for my family and friends donations,” Osthoff wrote in a text to Devolder in late 2016, months after being put in touch, Patch reported. Two months later, Sapphire died and, having been out of work for over a year, Osthoff said he “had to panhandle” in order to afford the euthanasia and cremation. “It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do,” he told Patch.

The allegation is one of many swirling around the freshman congressman since he was elected. He has admitted to lying about key portions of his resume and life while campaigning and investigations have revealed little evidence to back up many of his other claims. Almost every aspect of his life history has come under close scrutiny and he has been accused of lying about most major areas, including his career, education, marital history and religious beliefs. Investigations into his finances—including by the Justice Department—could pose the biggest threat for Santos, particularly over irregularities stemming from his campaign. Despite scandal after scandal, Santos has dismissed calls to resign and the GOP, who narrowly control the House, have indicated they plan to support him, placing him on two lower-tier committees Tuesday.

Will accusations of stealing money raised for a homeless veteran and his dying dog be the last straw for Santos? It’s hard to think of how someone could go much lower than that. I guess we’ll see.

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