The FBI is reportedly digging into an allegation that Rep. George Santos (R-NY) conducted a charity scheme involving a disabled Navy veteran — then pocketed the proceeds.
The controversy surrounding the new representative just gets deeper and uglier.
Santos is accused of promising disabled Navy veteran Richard Osthoff that he would assist in raising funds for his pitbull to have a stomach tumor removed. Osthoff was found sleeping in a tent on the side of the road in New Jersey in 2016.
A veterinary technician volunteered to set him up with a pet charity, and this led to his encounter with Santos, who was then known as Anthony Devolder. He allegedly told the veteran that he would utilize his organization, Friends of Pets United.
The now-congressman raised $3,000 on GoFundMe but then did not turn the contributions over to Osthoff, according to a report by Patch. Santos allegedly became evasive and only gave excuses as to why the money was not provided for the pet’s surgery.
Politico reported that two FBI agents contacted Osthoff this week about their investigation into the possible scam. The veteran said he’s “glad to get the ball rolling with the big-wigs” and was worried that too much time had passed for there to be any consequences for Santos.
The FBI is investigating George Santos for allegedly raising money for a veteran's dying service dog in a GoFundMe scheme – then ghosting with the cash. https://t.co/szfBJJYUGE
— POLITICO (@politico) February 1, 2023
He provided text messages from 2016 exchanges with Santos.
The freshman representative is at the center of a whirlwind of accusations that he systematically lied on numerous occasions about several personal details. Now there is a fraud allegation concerning a disabled U.S. military veteran.
That comes on top of investigators already looking at criminal charges against Santos for possible financial crimes.
The representative on Tuesday removed himself from his congressional committee assignments. He told his House colleagues that he wanted to avoid being more of a “distraction” for his fellow Republicans.
His announcement came after a Monday meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The GOP leader has not revealed reasons for the discussion or details of what was said.
McCarthy did express to Capitol Hill reporters last week that if Santos is determined to have broken the law by the House Ethics Committee, he will be ejected from Congress. For his part, Santos has asserted that he is only guilty of exaggerating parts of his resume.