sandwich U, givesendgo

George Tanios, owner of Sandwich University, has received tens of thousands of dollars from supporters since he was charged for his role in the Jan. 6 riots.

George Tanios, owner of Sandwich University in Morgantown, has received tens of thousands of dollars from supporters on a Christian crowdfunding site as he faces charges related to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

The page was created by Amanda Plumey, Tanios’ fiance, shortly after his arrest in March. The page is on GiveSendGo, a site that markets itself as the “#1 Free Christian Crowdfunding Site.”

While a total figure is no longer listed on the site, as of Oct. 20, donors had given $59,159 towards a stated goal of $150,000. Most donations are anonymous and in amounts varying from as little as $5 to as much as $2,000.

Tanios faces 10 charges related to the Jan. 6 riots from assaulting police officers to obstruction of an official proceeding. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is out on bail awaiting trial.

In regular updates posted to the GiveSendGo page, Plumey and Tanios inform supporters about the status of his case and thank donors for their generosity. He refers to himself and others charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riots as “political prisoners.”

“I look forward to my day in court and clearing my name of these charges fabricated against me,” Tanios wrote in a Nov. 13 post. “Life is all about the rebound. God is a Winner, I am a Winner, you all are Winners. That is why they hate us so much.”

Prosecutors say Tanios and friend Julian Khater traveled to Washington with bear spray and pepper spray. At the riots, prosecutors say Tanios handed one of the sprays to Khater who used it on U.S. Capitol Police officers.

Brian Sicknick, one of the officers, died the next day and the medical examiner has ruled he died of natural causes.

Tanios was held for five months on pretrial detention before being released in August on house arrest after multiple appeals.

“I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has donated and prayed for my family and the others caught up in this situation,” he wrote after his release. “Your support is felt and has really helped us through this. Words can not express what it is like when you know God Fearing American Patriots are praying and donating hard earned money to help you out in a time of struggle. Real Tears.”

The conditions of his pretrial release were modified last month. He is now allowed out of the house and is working to sell his Sandwich University business while he starts a new job at a local pizza store.

“It is bitter sweet knowing that many people are still languishing in prison and many others are being hunted down still,” Tanios wrote in September. “I pray the truth comes out and for their protection.”

The site also offers supporters the opportunity to let the campaign owner know that they are praying for them. Almost 500 people have said they’re praying for Tanios and his family.

“​​Thank you all again for your prayers and support,” Tanios wrote in October. “May God bless you and your families through these times.”

He closed the message with “Let’s Go Brandon!” which is a commonly used phrase in place of an obscene statement about President Joe Biden.

Tanios isn’t the only person charged in the riots who is using GiveSendGo as a means of raising money. Dozens of people charged for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection have collectively raised more than $2 million, according to a CNN report from September.

A majority of these crowdfunding efforts were on GiveSendGo. Donors on the site also raised more than $500,000 for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was recently acquitted of all charges in the Kenosha shooting.

In an interview with CNN, Jacob Wells, co-founder of GiveSendGo, said the platform intends to “not side with the right or the left, but point people back to Jesus."

In some cases, crowdfunding has impacted the outcome of criminal cases being investigated by the Justice Department.

Joshua James, a Capitol rioter who earned approximately $200,000 from crowdfunding, was denied a request to be released from home confinement.

A handful of other rioters earned over six figures in crowdfunding.