George Santos Allegedly Stole $3,000 From Veteran Whose Dog Needed Life-Saving Surgery

The George Santos story just keeps getting worse.

My first reaction to the initial New York Times story outing newly-elected New York congressman George Santos as a serial fabulist was surprise, then sadness because I knew his election was in large part made possible by the death of local news. If there’d been competent local media still operating in the area, Santos’ campaign would have ended as suddenly as it started in a flurry of revelatory news coverage, and Santos himself would have been a footnote, a political oddity and embarrassment to the local GOP.

Then for one glorious moment I thought maybe Santos was a performance artist, that we’d find out George Santos is the alias of some comedian or media provocateur whose congressional run was designed from the start to show that politics has become so polarized, so divorced from issues and hitched to ideological loyalties that even a widely disliked grifter — with no roots in the community and a completely fabricated resume — could win simply because he said the right things, pushed the right buttons and kissed the right behinds.

Alas, no Dax Herrera or Ari Shaffir came forward to claim credit for inventing the George Santos persona.

And it just kept getting worse. There were the stories about pending criminal charges for using stolen checks in Santos’ native (?) Brazil, former roommates who saw Santos on TV wearing expensive clothes he’d allegedly stolen from them, and Santos working as the director of a company under investigation for running an alleged Ponzi scheme.

osthoffsapphire1
Sapphire, veteran Rich Osthoff’s service dog.

The latest story might be the most infuriating: Santos is accused of stealing $3,000 from a homeless, PTSD-suffering veteran whose beloved service dog needed life-saving surgery.

Rich Osthoff, who was living on the streets at the time, needed money to pay for veterinary surgery to remove a large and life-threatening tumor from his service dog, Sapphire. Osthoff says Sapphire was his lifeline during difficult times and he was desperate to get her the surgery she needed.

In 2016 a well-meaning vet tech and another veteran connected Osthoff with Santos, who claimed he ran a charity called Friends of Pets United and could help. At the time, Santos was going by the name Anthony Devolder.

Santos set up a GoFundMe drive for Osthoff and Sapphire, raised $3,000 with a tear-jerker of a plea, then basically ghosted Osthoff and his veteran friend Michael Boll, founder of New Jersey Veterans Network. After fobbing them off with a series of excuses, he stopped responding to their calls and vanished with the proceeds.

“It diminished my faith in humanity,” Osthoff said of the experience.

Santos denied the accusation.

“Fake,” Santos texted news startup Semafor on Wednesday. “No clue who this is.”

osthoffsapphire
Osthoff with Sapphire.

But dozens of other people besides Osthoff, Boll and the vet tech were involved and confirmed Santos’ role in the fundraiser, there are publicly visible tweets from 2016 linking to it — and crediting “Anthony Devolder” for running it — and GoFundMe acknowledged the existence of the drive.

In addition, news reports have confirmed Friends of Pets United, Santos’ “charity,” was never registered as a non-profit. Santos also defrauded an animal rescue group in New Jersey when he pocketed the proceeds from a 2017 fundraiser he ran on behalf of the organization, according to dozens of media reports. Santos was terse in his response to the accusations from Osthoff and Boll, but he was eager to talk about his non-existent pet charity during his campaign, when he claimed Friends of Pets United “saved” more than 2,500 cats and dogs over a four-year span and trapped and neutered more than 3,000 cats.

Santos’ lies are so numerous and so outrageous it’s difficult to keep track of them, and it’s doubtful he remembers all of them.

He claimed his mother worked at a financial firm at the World Trade Center and died in the 9/11 attacks, but Fatima Devolder left the US for Brazil in 1999 and never returned. She also never worked in finance. He claimed four of his employees died in the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives. Santos never had any employees, his company didn’t exist, and he didn’t know anyone who died at the nightclub. He claimed ownership over an impressive and burgeoning real estate empire, but never owned any properties and owes more than $40,000 in back rent on a Queens apartment he shared with his sister for years. (His sister was also the recipient of a $30,000 FEMA handout and contributed a hefty $5,000 to his campaign, but still owes tens of thousands in back rent on the apartment, reports say.)

Rep._George_Santos_Official_Portrait_(cropped)
George Santos has refused to resign from congress despite calls from his own constituents, other lawmakers, figures in his own party and media commentators demanding his exit. Credit: Official congressional portrait

There are too many lies to list here, too much insanity to digest in one sitting, and it’s probably not good for the blood pressure to dwell on this weasel of a man allowing a homeless veteran’s service dog to die while pocketing the money raised for her surgery.

But we’re not done yet. We still don’t know how Santos bolstered his campaign with $750,000 of his own money, or where that cash came from. It’s not even clear if Santos is his real name, or if he’s actually a U.S. citizen, with some reports — like a New York Times story from last week — suggesting he may have married his former wife for citizenship.

While New York Republicans have been among the loudest voices to condemn Santos and demand he resign or be removed from congress, national party leaders haven’t made any moves to get rid of him — and have actually given him committee assignments — because they believe they need his vote in a slimmer-than-anticipated congressional majority.

As the lies keep piling up, the biggest question is: How long will this farce be allowed to drag on?

29 thoughts on “George Santos Allegedly Stole $3,000 From Veteran Whose Dog Needed Life-Saving Surgery”

  1. Infuriating is right! Santos is a POS through and through, and sadly there’s no way to recall him. He can be expelled by the House but that’s not likely to happen since Kevin McCarthy needs his support.
    Stealing from a pet charity and letting an animal – the dog in this case – die is the lowest of the low.
    Here’s wishing all the worst to G. Santos, or whatever his name is.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I wanted to vomit after i read about this. Cried when i saw Sapphire die because of this pos. There are vets i know who would of done surgery for less than $3,000 or free. And the fact that he wanted to kill himself made me cry more and i can feel my blood boil.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. He’s just the kind of person/thing who if he told you the sky is blue you’d find yourself questioning it & looking up. Just when you thought this low life could not go any lower he’s found a lower level of low to go to. If there’s a hell may there be an extra special place for him there just waiting for him to arrive…It brings me to old thoughts of Dantes Inferno…There could be a new rendition staring him. I won’t try & name him, as his list of names keeps growing…POS should suffice for now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The only takeaway from this horror for me in the UK is that our politicians are (mostly) equally as appalling. There are some bright points, but they fade quickly when they get their snouts in the tax trough. This story reminds me of the summary of British Politics being “one bunch of multi-millionaires telling you the reason you are poor is because of the other bunch of multi-millionaires.” hence why my energy and passion are directed solely at multiple cats and other animal charities, at least I can look Bella in the eye with a good degree of honesty and integrity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember James Bowen responding to an interviewer who asked why he loved his cat, Bob, so much. He listed a bunch of qualities, then said: “And he’s always honest with me…well, except when it comes to food.”

      Cats are beautiful innocents, and if food is the only thing they can be deceptive or a pain in the Bud about, well, I’ll take it!

      * This is not to be taken as an admission that Buddy the Cat is ever dishonest about food. On the contrary, Buddy notes, he has never made a secret of the fact that his goal in life is the accumulation and consumption of as much turkey as possible.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I saw movie about Bowen and his cat Bob. Wonderful story. Cried like a baby when he passed. I think pets make humans a better person if you TRULY love them. My deceased cats got me through depressions with my mothers death and my ex- boyfriends abusive behavior. Not that you should completely rely on pets for your depression. Sapphire was a companion to a human in pain from the war. If he says humans suck i agree with him. He was let down in the worst way.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Buddy’s life goal is admirable! We should all be like Buddy, single minded and goal orientated! And turkey obsessed, natch. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. This is why i went into cat rescue and tnr. I have little use for shitty humans. The sad thing is that now people will not trust GoFundMes. You have to do some simple detective work if you want to contribute to a person who needs money for thier pet. I would of trusted this veteran but i also could of called vets office and spoken to office and see if Sapphire needed surgery. Scams are so easy these days. I get personal emails from GoFundMes so i know these people and i could send a few dollars here and there.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. With non-profits you can check their Form 990 status, ratings and percentage of revenue spent on program services with the site GuideStar. All charities have to file IRS Form 990s and show how their money is spent.

        It differs depending on what a particular charity does because some have more overhead, but generally a charity should spend 85 to 90 percent or more on program services, meaning the work they’re focused on.

        So if a pet charity isn’t a scam, but it only spends 60% of its revenue on its charitable mission because it holds expensive fundraisers, that’s considered an ineffective charity and donors should be wary. (A lot of those black tie events with expensive entertainment and super expensive meals are red flags.)

        On the other hand, if a charity is not listed at all, that’s a huge red flag and no one should donate. Non-profits must be registered, no exceptions.

        I did a couple of investigative stories back in my newspaper days involving charities and efficient use of funds, and sometimes even the most well-meaning people just don’t do a good job making sure they maximize charitable dollars. Sometimes salaries for executive directors and office staff are too high, or there’s too much overhead for things like office space, supplies, perks for employees.

        I also do web design/maintenance work for two nonprofits, and when checking out a non-profit, people should always check to see if the group has a website, if the website is transparent about who the main staff are, and if they publicly list a phone number and mailing address. (PO boxes are okay, as many smaller charities do not have full time offices.)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I volunteer for a veterans group in Brooklyn. Clean yard and other small tasks. Few called and texted today ever since they heard about this. One told me that pos opened his office in Queens. They are planning a protest. One told me Queens GOP refuse to tell Santos to resign. All the vets told me this is one reason of many they changed from Republican to Democrat. Oldest vet there was Republican for over 40 years. That changed 5 years ago.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No doubt it is all bad. I had friends in FDNY who died on 9/11. My friends risked thier lives not only for humans but cats and dogs in fires. I have two friends who survived plus two cousins who survived 9/11. Trust me when i say i know what they are thinking and feeling.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Someone put a post for GoFundMe for his moms funeral. Under Devolder. Or whatever this pos name is. Funeral people said Santos never paid them. Like i said, this is not over. If i see it again i will tell you who and what news outlet. More i read the more my stomach turns.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. lol yeah. It never ends with this dude. Apparently an interview from last year just surfaced in which he claims there was an assassination attempt on him, and that he was robbed of his shoes, watch and briefcase near Trump Tower in Manhattan in broad daylight. He’s done a lot of interviews in Portuguese and with lesser known podcasters, so there’s probably enough insanity to keep the media busy for months.

        Liked by 1 person

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