Team 12 Investigates: Rep. Santos linked to $15K in bad checks made out to dog breeders in 2017
Rep. George Santos was accused of theft in Pennsylvania in 2017, but the charge was later dismissed. Sources verify reports with Team 12 Investigates that the charge was linked to nine bad checks written in Santos' name to dog breeders in York and Lancaster counties.
The checks totaled $15,125 and were made out for "puppies" to various breeders in Pennsylvania's Amish community. However, when the recipients went to cash the checks, they bounced. The New York freshman congressman claimed his checkbook had been stolen and his attorney who argued the case now feels duped.
Queens attorney Tiffany Bogosian told Team 12 Investigates that she regrets helping Rep. Santos clear his name. Bogosian has known Santos for more than a decade. She said they met at Woodside Intermediate School 125 in Queens. They reconnected a few years ago after a chance encounter at a Starbucks.
In February 2020, Bogosian said Santos reached out to her for help fighting pending Pennsylvania larceny charges. He told her he believed his checkbook had been stolen by his former roommate in 2017 and wrote a series of bad checks. He asked her to argue his case.
Bogosian shared an email with Team 12 Investigates that she sent to a Pennsylvania State Trooper on Feb. 15, 2020. She told the trooper that Santos called his bank upon learning his check book was missing and immediately canceled the checks.
"As such no checks were ever cashed or presented against his account due to his cancellation of all checks linked to this account. The account was closed on March 3, 2018, for personal reasons unrelated to any alleged fraud on his account (banking preference)," Bogosian wrote in the email.
Bogosian said Santos told her he would lose his job at Goldman Sachs if he had criminal charges against him, explaining that the company does biannual employee reviews and background checks. Santos would later admit he never worked for Goldman Sachs, after a New York Times investigation in Dec. 2022.
Santos' former classmate started to have second thoughts about the checks, realizing they did not have Santos' address or phone number listed on them, but ultimately trusted him at the time. Now, Bogosian no longer believes Santos' story.
Six of the nine canceled checks were dated Nov. 22, 2017. Three days later, an Instagram post from the Staten Island pet store Pet Oasis advertised a puppy adoption event held by Santos' charity Friends of Pets United.
Bogosian said she is choosing to speak out now because she no longer thinks her old friend was a victim of fraud. Instead, she believes he was the perpetrator.
"Too many coincidences and knowing all of that, I wish I didn't even get involved. I wish he would've just went and turned himself in on the warrant so they would've prosecuted," Bogosian told Team 12 Investigates. "He has no credibility, not in my book, not to me. And I feel that it's my duty and my obligation to warn people about him."
Rep. Santos has not responded to our repeated requests for comment.