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FBI investigating Santos service dog scam allegations

(NewsNation) — The FBI is now investigating New York U.S. Rep. George Santos in connection with an alleged service dog scam.

The scam involved a GoFundMe for a U.S. Navy veteran’s service dog, which needed life-saving surgery. The fundraiser raised $3,000 but veteran Richard Ostoff said Santos took the money and disappeared.

Ostoff said the FBI contacted him about the incident. Santos, using a different name, allegedly ran the GoFundMe under the Friends of Pets United charity. His campaign lists Friends of Pets United as a nonprofit organization, but the IRS has no record of it.

The money was being raised to help Ostoff pay for an operation to remove a tumor from his service dog, Sapphire. He said he never received the money and without surgery, Sapphire eventually died from her condition.

Santos has been under scrutiny since shortly after the midterm election, when it was revealed he had lied about his education, work experience and family background.

Despite calls for him to step down, Santos vowed to be sworn in even as more allegations surfaced, including an effort by Brazilian authorities to reopen a fraud case against him.

The Federal Election Commission is also investigating finance reports from Santos’ campaign, particularly some large loans where the source was not recorded.

Recently, Santos claimed to have been the target of an assassination attempt, which he said was because he is a Republican.

Despite the investigations and calls for his resignation, Santos was sworn in with the new Congress. He was initially given committee assignments but has since stepped down from those roles.