the never-ending grift

Did George Santos Pass Bad Checks for Amish Puppies?

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New York representative George Santos has gotten in his fair share of outlandish scandals involving ripping off people who love dogs — like the time he reportedly stole $3,000 raised for a veteran whose pit mix needed surgery, without which the pet died. But a new report shows that there may be no limit to the canine scams he may have pulled before he was elected to the House on a totally fraudulent record.

According to records obtained by Politico, in November and December 2017, a checking account in Santos’s name was used to write nine canceled checks for “puppies” to eight different people in Pennsylvania for $15,125. One of those who received the bounced checks was Jacob Stoltzfus, who raises Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu puppies in the village of Bird-in-Hand, and told Politico that’s how much he would have charged for a purebred six years ago. When none of the checks were valid, a prosecutor in York County charged Santos with theft by deception — an outstanding charge that was on his record the first time he ran for Congress in 2020.

At some point, Santos realized he needed to get the allegation off his formal record if he wanted to be a politician. According to Politico, he asked a middle-school classmate, attorney Tiffany Bogosian, to help him squash the matter. In February 2020, she wrote to a Pennsylvania trooper, telling Santos’s side of the story. It was all a misunderstanding, she said: Santos lost a checkbook in 2017 and the bogus checks all came from that book. According to Bogosian, Santos even went down to Amish country a week later and told prosecutors there he was with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Eventually, the charge was expunged in November 2021.

While Bogosian trusted Santos at the time, she no longer believes his story. “I did think it was so weird at the time that his checks didn’t have his address or phone number listed on them,” she told Politico.

Santos’s dog days have come back to bite him before: Soon after the story emerged of Santos stealing $3,000 from a veteran fundraising for his dying dog, the FBI reportedly began investigating the matter. And if Santos did actually impersonate an SEC agent to get out of a charge, that could put him in a whole new realm of trouble. Even if there are no legal repercussions from the allegedly bad checks, it looks like Santos has been messing with the wrong people: dog owners who take the matter of rescue very seriously. If the checks were actually written by Santos, it appears he concocted a scheme to buy puppies in Amish country, then sell them a few days later at adoption events in New York, raking it in on adoption fees from dogs that weren’t actually in need of rescue.

Did George Santos Rip Off Amish Dog Breeder With Bad Checks?