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Former Campaign Fundraiser For Rep. Santos Indicted After Allegedly Impersonating Top House Aide

  A former campaign fundraiser for U.S. Rep.   George Santos   (R-NY) was indicted in a federal case on Wednesday for allegedly impersonatin...

 A former campaign fundraiser for U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was indicted in a federal case on Wednesday for allegedly impersonating a high-ranking aide in the House of Representatives to solicit potential contributions from over a dozen donors.

Samuel Miele was charged with four counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the unsealed indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“Mr. Miele is not guilty of these charges,” Kevin Marino, his attorney, told CNBC, adding that his client “looks forward to completing vindication at trial as soon as possible.”

Miele was arraigned on Wednesday morning in federal court in Brooklyn and released on $150,000 bail, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York.

The indictment alleges that Miele, 27, used the name and a fake email address of a high-ranking aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to secure campaign funding for Santos while earning a 15% commission on each donation. Although the document did not specifically name the aide who was allegedly impersonated, multiple news outlets have identified the person as Dan Meyer, who retired in June after serving as McCarthy’s chief of staff for the past four years.

Federal prosecutors said Miele sent “fraudulent fundraising solicitations” through emails and phone calls for the New York Republican’s campaign to more than a dozen prospective donors between August and December 2021.

On September 26, 2022, the court filing alleged, Miele admitted to “faking my identity to a big donor” in a letter to Santos but stated that he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”

A spokesman for McCarthy told The Associated Press they were first made aware of the impersonation in August 2021.


“My staff raised concerns when he had a staff member who impersonated my chief of staff, and that individual was let go when Mr. Santos found about it,” McCarthy told reporters in January.

Prosecutors notified two judges in the Eastern District Court that Mielie’s criminal case “may be presumptively related” to campaign-related charges filed against Santos earlier this year.

Santos was charged with over 13 counts in March 2023, forcing the freshman congressman to surrender to authorities and appear in court. Seven counts included wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.

The lawmaker could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, but has since pleaded not guilty.

Santos has also been accused of telling donors that funds would be used toward his campaign, but reports previously claimed that he used the money to buy designer clothes, alleviate personal credit card debt, and spend lavishly on other items unrelated to his race for Congress.

House leaders have been divided on forcing Santos to resign from his elected position, while a handful of New York Republicans expressed support for a House Democrat-led resolution to censure him.

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) criticized McCarthy for allowing the embattled GOP lawmaker to continue serving amid his criminal charges.

“According to a federal indictment, George Santos paid someone to impersonate Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff to raise money, yet McCarthy continues to protect Santos,” Goldman wrote. “Pathetic and shameful.”

Still, Republican lawmakers have indicated they would let the legal process play out before taking any further steps of expulsion.

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