There are multiple investigations ongoing into a variety of suspected frauds perpetrated by George Santos, the newest Republican representative out of Nassau County, New York. The investigations cover a wide geographical range from whether Santos perpetrated fraud in his own congressional district, in campaign finance, against donors, and whether he perpetrated fraud in Brazil. The campaign finance investigations are so mystifying they have investigations inside of investigations ongoing.
On top of this comes the never-ending reports about the various huge lies Santos has told about himself, his identity, and his family’s history. It includes lying about being of Jewish ancestry, including lying about having family killed during the Holocaust. It includes lying about his mother being killed in one of the Twin Towers during the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. One of the more distasteful alleged frauds Santos (who went by the name Anthony Devolder before switching to George Santos) generated was to lie and steal a few thousand dollars raised through a GoFundMe for a homeless veteran’s dying dog back in 2016.*
Santos has denied pretty much everything, but the evidence is pretty robust and comprehensive. Now the New York Times has a new report all about Santos’ “non-profit” work: running a company called Friends of Pets United (FOPU). Guess.
*Yes, this is also being investigated.
RELATED STORY: New report says there's another lie on top of George Santos' lie about his mother on 9/11
Santos/Devolder claims to have founded the “non-profit” back in 2013, working to accomplish all kinds of animal rescue efforts. But according to the people who came across FOPU over those years, Anthony Devolder’s charity work was … wicked sketchy. An example they give comes from a store owner who was kind enough to host a pet adoption event set up by Devolder’s Friends of Pets United. The charity’s leader asked the owner of Pet Oasis in Staten Island if he could make out a check for all the proceeds generated by the event to “Anthony Devolder,” not FOPU.
The owner said no way, and made the check out to the supposed non-profit, as one would do. A few days later, when checking his bank records, the owner saw that the check had been deposited into Anthony Devolder’s account. How? The check had been “altered,” and Friends of Pets United was scratched out. None of this is surprising at this point, as George Santos has shown himself to be something of a pathological liar, and some might say sociopathic presence in politics.
The Washington Post reports, Santos’ campaign biography changed a tad over the past couple of years. In 2020, his work with FOPU was described, “Also passionate about animals and animal welfare, George founded and ran a nonprofit 501(c)(3) called Friends of Pets United (FOPU) from 2013 - 2018, an animal rescue operation, which was able to effectively rescue 2400 dogs and 280 cats, and successfully conducted the TNR (trap neuter and release) of over 3000 cats.” Impressive. What does that look like as of Nov. 2022?
“He has worked tirelessly with animal rescue efforts in the Tri-State area.” Yuuuuup!
The change makes sense, as the Times reports that there has been no proof this “charity” ever really existed outside of GoFundMe pages, and a Facebook group that’s no longer active. In fact, the Times says that many of the Facebook posts Santos put up showed other adoption agencies’ work and efforts, which he would repost as proof of his efforts in the rescue community. Real stolen valor scumbaggery.
As for the idea that FOPU was a charity and a very real tax-exempt one at that, no one has been able to find registry records for anything named Friends of Pets United. “New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets said that it had no records that the organization was registered as a rescue, as would have been required starting in September 2017.” The end of a con is also very well illustrated in the final year of “operation” for FOPU, as according to multiple people interviewed by the Times, Santos repeatedly used the line that he was closing down his shelter repeatedly throughout the year. He used it with legitimate rescue agencies over most of 2018, to house an animal here or there.
A veterinary technician named Andrea Dos Santos had connected with George Santos back when he was allegedly using homeless Navy veteran Rich Osthoff’s dying dog to scam money. She didn’t know anything about the scamming part and, in 2017, found herself offering up her farm in New Jersey because Santos said his Friends of Pets United would use it. In order to make that happen, the barn would need to be fixed up, and Ms. Dos Santos agreed to host a big charity event there. She solicited “donations from friends and [laid] out her own money for refreshments.”
George even reportedly set up a GoFundMe that purportedly raised over $2,100 on top of what had seemed to have been raised mostly by Ms. Dos Santos’ work. Sadly, George Santos controlled the money and Ms. Dos Santos says she never received any of it to help work on the farmhouse. She says she called and called and got a lot of the run around, saying that in their final conversation, she told George, “Karma’s gonna get you, and if it does, you’re going to remember me. Because you are going to deserve everything you are going to get.”
Since that time, Santos’ only defense is to say that he was just a cog in the wheel of this seemingly fake pet rescue group. He has vaguely blamed “others,” though who those people might be remains a mystery—if they exist at all, which seems unlikely.
Formerly homeless veteran confirms that Rep. George Santos stole $3,000 raised for his dying dog
Where did Santos' $700,000 campaign loan come from? New FEC filing only raises more questions
George Santos is being accused of so many lies, it's hard to know what's real about him