A Navy veteran has accused Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., of refusing to hand over thousands of dollars raised in a 2016 online campaign to fund life-saving surgery for his dog.

Richard Osthoff said in an interview Wednesday that a charity group linked to Santos created a GoFundMe page for his dog, but never gave him the money. Osthoff said he believes access to the $3,000 endowment fund, which he said Santos withheld from him, would have saved his dog’s life.

“I was so furious that I realized this guy is now a serving congressman. He doesn’t deserve that job. It is horrendous that he can lie and steal and cheat in his life,” Osthoff said.

Richard Osthoff.
Richard Osthoff.nbc news

“And now he’s someone we’re supposed to trust. He is disgusting. He is awful. [He] He should be ashamed of himself, but he isn’t. … he is a psychopath ”.

NBC News has asked Santos for a comment. Have denied the accusations to Semafor.

“False,” Santos told the news outlet. «I have no idea who he is.»

patch.com first reported Osthoff’s accusations.

Santos admitted to embellishing and lying about important aspects of his biography when he ran for Congress last year. The New York Times posted a story after the election that cast doubt on Santos’ real estate portfolio and a claim that he had founded an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 cats and dogs.

Osthoff, who was stationed in Louisiana and Washington beginning in 1998, said that less than a year after leaving the Navy, in 2005, he obtained his dog, Sapphire, from a rescue organization to help him cope with bipolar disorder and the posttraumatic stress. disorder.

“I was going through some very bad times when I got out of the service. My dad even told me at one point that he thought he had a death wish,” he said in the interview.

Osthoff said that by 2016, Sapphire was suffering from health problems in her old age and had developed a fatty cyst on her ribcage that within months «got to the size of maybe two grapefruits.»

A vet estimated her surgery would cost $3,000, money Osthoff said she did not have at the time.

“I was homeless and lived in a tent,” he said. «I didn’t have that kind of money.»

It was then, Osthoff said, that he first learned about Santos and a charity he promoted on the campaign trail known as Friends of Pets United, that a vet tech told him it «raises a lot of money for animals in need.»

Osthoff said Santos’ group created a GoFundMe page for Sapphire and friends, family and people he didn’t know made contributions, helping him reach his goal of $3,000.

When the vet treating Sapphire said she would need a different surgeon, Santos suggested using her vet instead, Osthoff said.

“Everything had to be done through their vets and their techs and all that stuff at the time,” Osthoff said, adding that when he suggested going a different route, Santos started “making up all these excuses” about money.

“I knew something was up. He knew that he was suspicious. And he started telling me that if the dog couldn’t be worked with, the funds weren’t going to go to me anyway. They were going to go to another animal that needed it,” Osthoff said.

“I told him, I was like: ‘Look, I know what’s going on here. You’re mining my dog, my friends and my family for funds, and you’re putting them in your own pocket.’”

Osthoff said he never received the money raised from Sapphire’s campaign and ended up having to «beg» to pay for her euthanasia and cremation.

Asked if he wanted the money, Osthoff said: «Money means nothing.»

“That dog was what kept me alive,” he said.

Twice, Osthoff said, she probably would have taken her own life «if she wasn’t there with me and I didn’t have to think about her.»

«Your [Santos’] guilt that she passed away as soon as she did. I think she could have been taken care of. There could have been more veterinary care, something to prolong her life, even if they couldn’t remove that thing. She could have been more comfortable,” she said.

Santos has lied about much of his background and resume and is the subject of investigations at the state, local and federal levels. In an interview last month with the new york post officeapologized for aspects of his biography.

«I’m embarrassed and I’m sorry I embellished my resume,» he said, according to the newspaper. “I recognize that. … We do stupid things in life.”

The Hill reported last week that Santos told reporters«I have not done anything unethical.»

Santos has resisted calls from his fellow congressmen for him to resign. This week he was awarded seats on two House committees.