George Santos’ late mother Fatima Devolder wasn’t in New York at the time of the September 11 attacks, The Forward first reported Wednesday. That conflicts with Santos’ claims that his mother was in the South Tower during 9/11 and later passed away from a related illness.
The latest revelation about Santos was uncovered by Alex Calzareth, a Manhattan accountant with a passion for genealogy. He filed a Freedom of Information Request for Fatima Devolder’s immigration records and shared his findings with several news outlets.
Records shared with Gothamist indicate that Devolder applied for a visa to enter the United States in 2003, two years after the attack. She stated in her paperwork that she’d been in Brazil for six years prior to submitting her application.
Leading up to the 2022 election, Santos had made various claims about his late mother’s work history and death. The NY times reported he described her as “the first female executive at a major financial institution,” though the publication tracked down friends who described her as a hard-working cleaner who never worked on Wall Street.
While Santos scrubbed several biographical details from his website – including references to his family’s Jewish heritage — a mention of his mother and 9/11 remained live as of Thursday morning.
“George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on September 11, 2001, when the horrific events of that day unfolded. She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer,” the website read, suggesting the cancer was related to her presence during the attack.
“9/11 claimed my mother’s life,” he wrote on Twitter in July 2021.
A now deactivated GoFundMe campaign from December of 2016 archived by the Wayback Machine showed Santos, under the names “Anthony Devolder” and “Anthony Zabrovsky” raising funds for his mother’s funeral and burial.
“Fatima left two children who are not working because she needed 24 hour care,” the GoFundMe stated in Portuguese. “Now they need our help in this very delicate moment.”
It’s unclear why GoFundMe removed the campaign from their website, and the company didn’t return a request for comment right away. Around that same time GoFundMe kicked one of the emails Santos used off the platform after a disabled veteran claimed Santos had scammed him out of $3,000 he helped raise for an operation for his ailing dog.
Amid multiple probes into his fabricated biography and campaign finances, Santos quietly opened a district office in Queens last week.