FBI investigates Santos' role in alleged service dog charity scheme, veteran victim says

He says the now-congressman capitalized on his situation to raise $3,000 for life-saving surgery for his service dog, but then Santos stole the donations.

Updated: February 2, 2023 - 3:32pm

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The FBI is probing New York Republican Rep. George Santos' alleged involvement in a GoFundMe scheme involving the dying service dog of a  homeless disabled U.S. Navy veteran, the victim said.

The former service member, Richard Osthoff, told Politico on Wednesday that two agents contacted him on behalf of the New York Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office.

Osthoff gave the officials text messages with Santos from 2016. He says the now-congressman capitalized on his situation as a homeless disabled veteran with a sick service dog in order to raise $3,000 for a life-saving surgery for the dog, a pit bull mix named Sapphire. 

After raising the $3,000 goal, Santos gave multiple excuses as to why he could not help and eventually ran off with the donations, leaving Sapphire to die from the tumor in 2017, Osthoff said.

"I’m glad to get the ball rolling with the big-wigs," Osthoff said Wednesday. "I was worried that what happened to me was too long ago to be prosecuted."

Santos is facing multiple state, federal and international investigations. The congressman admitted to lying on his resumé and has faced calls to resign, but has so far only stepped down from his Congressional committee assignments.