NEW YORK (PIX11) — One of the many investigations into U.S. Rep. George Santos appears to be picking up steam — the allegation that he took money from a New Jersey military veteran meant to save the life of that man’s dog.
The congressman has denied any wrongdoing and distanced himself from separate allegations of more financial wrongdoing, including a link to a Ponzi scheme that is now being looked at by authorities.
The 2016 incident involving veteran Richard Osthoff and Santos is at the heart of an investigation by the FBI, PIX11 News has learned. Osthoff has been interviewed by the FBI and told them how Santos fundraised to save the life of his dog Sapphire, but then allegedly stole the money — leaving Sapphire to die.
On Thursday, Santos once again mainly ignored reporter questions at the Capitol but did say he was not worried about the FBI inquiry.
Santos previously addressed the allegations of stealing money from the fund of a dying dog, calling the claim “shocking and insane.”
On Thursday, GOP leadership continued to say they will not act to remove Santos from Congress amid all the lies about his personal history and background until a crime has been proven.
“If at any time it rises to the legal level, we will deal with it then,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In the meantime, fellow congressional colleagues are calling for investigations into Santos’ finances.
U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres of the Bronx is asking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to look at activities related to any Santos involvement with Harbor City Capital, an alleged Ponzi scheme that ripped off millions of dollars from investors.
“It is clear he was raising money from investors for what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme without registering as a broker, which is a violation of federal law for which he must be held accountable,” Torres said.
In response, Santos took to Twitter to go after Torres for “performance politics” and denied raising money for Harbor City Capital, despite an old tweet showing him defending and marketing the fund.
“George Santos condemning performative politics is like John Gotti condemning organized crime,” Torres quipped. “It’s absurd.”