Rep. Santos denies stealing money from GoFundMe set up for veteran’s dying dog

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 12, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The Nassau County party chairman, Joseph G. Cairo Jr. and other New York Republican officials have called on Santos to resign as investigations grow into his finances, campaign spending and false statements on the campaign trail. Santos announced in a tweet that he would not resign. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Dave Goldiner

New York Daily News

(TNS)

A homeless New Jersey veteran said Wednesday that he is certain Republican Rep. George Santos is the phony animal advocate who scammed him out of $3,000 that big-hearted donors chipped in to save his dying dog.

“I recognized his face, and it just turned my stomach when I saw him.” Richard Osthoff told CNN about the lying Republican lawmaker.

Santos insisted he didn’t run off with the cash earmarked for what should have been life-saving surgery on Osthoff’s cancer-stricken pit bull named Sapphire.

“Fake,” Santos texted Semafor, a news site. “No clue who this is.”

But Osthoff, who served in the Navy, said he has receipts in the form of multiple text messages from Anthony Devolder, a variant of Santos’s name that the conservative congressman has occasionally used.

The now-defunct GoFundMe page for the fundraiser lists Anthony Devolder as its creator.

Santos’s full name is George Anthony Devolder Santos. His company is called the Devolder Organization.

He has occasionally introduced himself as Anthony or George Devolder, like he did at a videotaped 2019 LGBTQ event to back Republicans, for reasons that he has yet to explain.

The Osthoff scandal dates to 2016, a time when Santos claimed to be an official at an unregistered charity called Friends of Pets United, according to Patch, the site that broke the story.

At first, Santos, who Osthoff claims introduced himself as Anthony Devolder, was sympathetic and cooperative, especially when it came to setting up the charity fundraiser, with the cash going to the Pets United account, Osthoff said.

When Osthoff tried to get the charity to pay for Sapphire’s surgery it was a different story. He made excuses for not paying up and claimed the pooch was “no longer a candidate” for assistance.

Devolder claimed the money raised would go to other sick dogs — and then ghosted Osthoff altogether, according to the veteran.

“He stopped answering my texts and calls,” Osthoff, 47, told Patch.

With no money to pay for surgery, Osthoff watched in dismay as his canine companion grew sicker and sicker and eventually had to put her down in 2017.

“I loved that dog so much,” he said.

Osthoff’s heartbreaking allegation was one of the stranger stories revolving around Santos, who has admitted lying about his background.

Santos, who flipped a Long Island congressional seat, even falsely claimed Jewish heritage and said his grandparents fled the Holocaust.

Santos is resisting a chorus of calls for his resignation, even from fellow Long Island Republicans.

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