George Santos took $3K from GoFundMe for dying dog belonging to disabled veteran

The dog, Sapphire, has passed away, but officials will donate the amount of money Santos originally promised to animal charity

ByDerick Waller WABC logo
Thursday, January 19, 2023
Nassau County officials help clean up George Santos' latest lie
Although the veteran's dog, Sapphire, has since passed away, Nassau County officials will donate the amount of money, that Santos originally promised, to an animal charity. Derick

UNION, New Jersey -- While George Santos is accused of stealing money from a disabled veteran, officials are working to right his wrongs.

On Thursday, Nassau County officials will hold a press conference to announce their new fundraiser to raise $3,000 for the animal charity, Paws of War.

Santos was recently accused of stealing money from the disabled veteran who was trying to save the life of his dying service dog.

Richard Osthoff says Santos, who went by the name "Anthony Devolder", promised to raise that same $3,000 for his service dog, Sapphire, who had cancer.

"I knew I knew him from somewhere, I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw his face," said Richard Osthoff.

Osthoff saw Santos on the news as a reporter chased him with a question.

"As soon as they said 'what's your name today, is it George Santos or Anthony Devolder,' I said, 'ahhh.' That's when I realized," Osthoff said.

Osthoff says Santos set up a GoFundMe page, but never sent the money. Then, his dog passed away.

"When the money was there, I wanted to go back to the vet, he would not let me have the money to go to the veterinarian, I started getting angry with him, arguing back and forth with text messages, he even told me they would try to make her as comfortable as possible in her last hours, he never did that," Osthoff said.

The veteran was devastated he couldn't save the dog that, for 10 years, saved him from PTSD and suicidal thoughts.

"She knew when my moods were changing, she knew when I was going manic," he said.

New Jersey Veterans Network boss Michael Boll says even he tried talking to Devolder about the $3,000.

"He said he wanted to give it to other charities, he claimed, or other places, I was like no you can't do that," Boll said.

GoFundMe says it shut down the account and the associated email in 2016 when the organizer failed to respond to its inquiry.

We reached out to George Santos' attorney and have not heard back, but Santos allegedly texted a media outlet calling Osthoff's story "fake," and saying "no clue who this is."

A source close to the GoFundMe situation confirmed to ABC News that it was George Santos who ran the fundraising account originally to help Osthoff dog receive surgery.

"I had to panhandle for the money and plead just to have her euthanized," Osthoff said.

Santos has already admitted to lying to Queens and Long Island voters about where he worked, went to college and his Jewish heritage.

An interview with Santos recently resurfaced where he claimed his mother was in NYC on 9/11 and survived. It was discovered that she wasn't even in the U.S. that day.

"Finding out this is a person representing the state of New York is pretty scary," Boll said.