A campaign fundraiser who worked with Rep. George Santos has been indicted on four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, after he allegedly impersonated a top aide to a member of the House while contacting donors for Santos’ campaign. Santos’ office has declined to comment on Miele.
According to an indictment and memo filed in federal court, during the 2022 election cycle Samuel Miele allegedly impersonated someone labeled “Person #1” in the indictment (who is believed to be the chief of staff to now-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, according to reports from CNBC and The New York Times. In a separate memo, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York alerted federal judges in New York that Miele had been indicted over alleged efforts to “defraud prospective contributors to Devolder Santos’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2022 election cycle.”
The indictment of Miele claims he “falsely and without authorization impersonated Person #1, in both email and telephone communications with potential contributors, for the purpose of soliciting financial contributions to support the campaign and enriching himself through commissions earned on these financial contributions to the campaign.” The indictment says Miele’s commission was 15% of each contribution; Miele allegedly admitted in a letter to “faking my identity to a big donor,” saying he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.” Miele did not respond to a request seeking comment; an initial court date in his case has not yet been set.
Santos pleaded not guilty on charges filed in May of fraud, money laundering and more crimes. Federal prosecutors allege in Santos’ case that the freshman congressman from New York’s Long Island operated a limited liability company to defraud prospective supporters of his 2022 congressional campaign, and that Santos induced supporters to donate money to the unnamed company “under the false pretense that the money would be used to support” his candidacy. In addition to his federal court case, Santos faces an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
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