Officials with federal law enforcement have reportedly begun an investigation of George Santos (R-NY) about his alleged involvement in a “GoFundMe scheme” which was created under the guise of helping the dog of a disabled U.S. Navy veteran.
Santos explained to POLITICO that a pair of agents with the FBI reached out to Richard Osthoff, the disabled Navy veteran related to the scheme, as a section of the investigation being carried out by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.
Osthoff stated that Santos managed to secure $3,000 intended for use on a life-saving surgery that was needed for the man’s pit bull and then ran off with the funds. He reportedly handed over a series of text messages exchanges that he had with Santos to the agents.
“I’m glad to get the ball rolling with the big-wigs,” stated Osthoff this past Wednesday. “I was worried that what happened to me was too long ago to be prosecuted.”
These released text messages, which were first made public by Patch, allegedly show Santos utilizing the name Anthony Devolder and making the claim that he had a charity for pets named Friends of Pets United.
A report from the New York Times this past December explained that there was no evidence that such a charity was even real.
The freshman congressman, who has been in trouble recently for lying about a large number of aspects of both his personal and career life, is facing probes from both local and federal police officials in addition to congressional investigations.
“With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared,” expressed Santos in a release. “This was a decision that I take very seriously.”
“The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare,” he went on. “It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s Third Congressional District and providing federal-level representation without distraction.”
Santos has already fessed up to lying about his previous work for the Goldman Sachs and Citigroup financial groups; he also admitted that he did not actually graduate from college. Going further, Santos claimed that he embellished a number of details about his religion, his personal life, and his sexuality.
A report from the New York Times explained earlier this month that Brazilian law enforcement officials “intend to revive fraud charges” targeting Santos stemming from events that took place back in 2008 that involved a checkbook that was allegedly stolen.