Two New Jersey veterans say now-Congressman George Santos promised to lift funds for lifesaving surgical procedure for one in every of their canines in 2016, then grew to become elusive and took off with the cash.

Santos, the embattled freshman Republican, faces rising stress to resign after he lied and misrepresented his instructional, work and household historical past. Santos has admitted to “embellishing” his resume, however has maintained he’s “not a felony.”

Wealthy Osthoff, a US Navy veteran, informed CNN his pit bull Sapphire started growing a tumor in 2015, and it continued to develop in 2016. Osthoff mentioned he was homeless, dwelling in a tent, on the time after dropping his job and home.

Osthoff’s mentor and buddy Michael Boll, founding father of New Jersey Veterans Community, informed CNN he took Osthoff underneath his wing as a part of the charity’s mentorship program and tried to get assist for his canine.

Boll mentioned a mutual buddy related the 2 veterans with Santos, who informed them Santos was steadily concerned with serving to and rescuing animals. Boll and Osthoff each knew Santos by the title Anthony Devolder, they mentioned.

Santos arrange a GoFundMe for Osthoff’s pit bull, Sapphire, Boll mentioned. A put up from the Fb profile of George Devolder hyperlinks to a GoFundMe elevating surgical procedure funds for the canine.

“Sapphire is a ten yr previous crimson nostril pit bull that has been holding this man firm, she dose [sic] not need to die due to this tumor, she deserves to be handled and cared for,” the Fb put up reads partially. “Will you assist this child and her daddy keep collectively for a couple of extra years? Does he not need to have her? Let’s all come collectively to assist this household of two keep wholesome!” the put up says.

CNN has reached out to Santos’ lawyer and his congressional workplace for remark. Santos informed the information outlet Semafor that the story, first reported by, was “pretend” and that he had “no clue who that is.”

The fundraiser finally raised round $3,000, in accordance with Boll.

However issues went south after Osthoff tried to entry the GoFundMe cash, he mentioned.

Santos grew to become uncooperative, in accordance with Osthoff and Boll – at first saying Osthoff wanted to take his canine to a veterinary clinic of Santos’ selection, then claiming one other clinic wouldn’t settle for Santos’ type of cost.

“I needed to leap by way of hoops and do every little thing his method,” Osthoff informed CNN. “He was simply completely ,completely troublesome. One impediment after one other.”

At one level, Santos informed Osthoff straight that he wouldn’t be getting the cash. Osthoff mentioned he accused Santos of working a bogus charity, and Santos grew to become confrontational.

“He bought so indignant with me and he blew up and refused to provide me the cash after which simply wouldn’t reply the calls anymore,” he mentioned.

In an announcement to CNN, GoFundMe mentioned it eliminated the fundraiser from its platform after receiving a report about it.

“After we acquired a report of a difficulty with this fundraiser in late 2016, our belief and security staff sought proof of the supply of funds from the organizer. The organizer failed to reply, which led to the fundraiser being eliminated and the e-mail related to that account prohibited from additional use on our platform. GoFundMe has a zero tolerance coverage for misuse of our platform and cooperates with regulation enforcement investigations of these accused of wrongdoing.”

Boll tried to behave as a mediator between the 2, he mentioned, with no luck.

“Anthony just about was sad with something I used to be saying and was reluctant to even communicate with me anymore,” Boll mentioned.

Santos finally stopped replying to messages from Boll and Osthoff, and Osthoff says he by no means acquired cost from the fundraiser.

Osthoff mentioned his canine handed away about six months after his final contact with Santos.

His canine, Sapphire, “was my little savior,” he informed CNN. “She saved me on this planet.”

Osthoff mentioned he needed to panhandle for the cash to pay for her euthanization.

Osthoff mentioned he contacted the police about his interactions with Santos however mentioned “it didn’t go wherever in any respect.”

As a result of Santos glided by a unique title when the 2 veterans had been in touch with him, Osthoff mentioned he didn’t know Anthony Devolder and George Santos had been the identical particular person till not too long ago.

“In December I began seeing him on TV,” Osthoff informed CNN. “I acknowledged his face, and it simply turned my abdomen once I noticed him.”

“That he was now given a place the place he impacts hundreds of individuals’s lives…it’s actually disheartening to know that,” Boll mentioned.

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