george santos

FBI Looking Into Claim That George Santos Stole Money From Dying Service Dog

Rep. George Santos has admitted to fabricating extensive portions of his background, and faces even more serious allegations and investigations over his conduct

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The FBI is speaking to a veteran regarding his claim that Rep. George Santos stole thousands of dollars that had been raised to pay for surgery for his dying service dog, according to NBC News.

New Jersey naval veteran Rich Osthoff accused Santos — who was using the name Anthony Devolder back in 2016 — of stealing $3,000 dollars raised on GoFundMe for the lifesaving treatment for his service dog, Sapphire. The dog never got the treatment, because Osthoff said he never got the money.

Osthoff said Wednesday that he is "giving [the FBI] everything he has" including texts with Santos.

“I’m elated the big guys finally picked it up,” Osthoff told NBC News. “I turned over all my text messages and I’m in the process of turning over everything related to the GoFundMe campaign."

Politico first reported on the scope of the FBI's investigation. A spokesperson for the FBI in New York declined to comment, as did the Eastern District of New York.

The Queens District Attorney's office previously declined to comment specifically on Santos' alleged mishandling of the crowdfunding campaign. A spokesperson for the office instead reiterated a prior statement about Santos' alleged conduct, saying, "While as a matter of course we do not comment on open investigations, we are reviewing whether Queens County has jurisdiction over any potential criminal offenses."

Santos' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News. Santos addressed the dog allegations on Jan. 19, tweeting a partial denial as well.

"The reports that I would let a dog die is shocking & insane. My work in animal advocacy was the labor of love & hard work. Over the past 24hr I have received pictures of dogs I helped reduce throughout the years along with supportive messages. These distractions won’t stop me!" he tweeted. (A couple of hours later he deleted the tweet and replaced it with a new one to fix the typo of "reduce" to "rescue.")

The congressman's tweet criticized, but did not directly deny, allegations that Santos in 2016 had disappeared with the thousands of dollars raised in the GoFundMe to cover the costs of a surgery for the veteran's dog's stomach tumor.

"I tried to call the police, but without a real name — I didn’t know it was George Santos. No address and phone number, nothing they could do about it," Osthoff said in January. "I’m so livid that guy is a congressman! He doesn’t deserve that job."

Calls are growing stronger for George Santos to resign. Greg Cergol reports.

Back in his home district, many have voiced their displeasure at the allegations against Santos.

"What George Santos did here was despicable. I am not sure what straw will break the camels back," said Mitch Furman, a Vietnam War veteran. "Twenty veterans a day commit suicide in this country. Service dogs are one way to prevent that from happening."

Santos, who won his Long Island congressional district in November, has been mostly silent since arriving in Washington in January, saying only that he embellished his resumé and that an ethics probe would not deter him. He was sworn in and has refused calls to give up his seat, and has done only a couple of interviews on conservative outlets.

Santos again admitted fabricating his resume in an interview with the conservative OAN Network on Wednesday — but he also blamed the media for spinning his story out of control.

"I know that a lot of people want to create a narrative that I faked my way to Congress, which is absolutely categorically false," he said.

The congressman also confronted a reporter asking about one of his alleged lies, saying he thinks it's "insensitive that you keep bringing up my deceased mother."

George Santos is temporarily recusing himself from 2 committee assignments. Greg Cergol reports.

Santos has claimed that his mother was at her office inside the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but records obtained by NBC News in January showed she was living in Brazil at the time. The records show Santos’ mother, Fatima Caruso Devolder, was admitted to the U.S. in April 2003 and had not been in the country since 1999. She had been living in Rio de Janeiro.

He also brushed aside a question about a poll indicating 78 percent of those questioned in his district believe he should give up his job.

"I didn’t order a poll. If I order a poll I’ll talk about a poll," he said.

Santos, who represents New York's 3rd District, is reportedly under investigation by local, state and federal prosecutors — as well as authorities in Brazil, where he has been accused of fraud.

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