Ex-Santos Fundraiser Admits Impersonating Congressional Aide

Sam Miele pleads guilty to fraud
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2023 6:15 PM CST
Former Santos Fundraiser Pleads Guilty to Fraud
Rep. George Santos watches as Republicans try to elect Rep. Mike Johnson to be the new House speaker, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

A former fundraiser for Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal wire fraud charge, admitting he impersonated a high-ranking congressional aide while raising campaign cash for the embattled New York Republican. Sam Miele was caught soliciting donations in late 2021 under the alias Dan Meyer, then chief of staff for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, when the former House speaker was the Republican minority leader, according to Santos. Federal authorities still have not confirmed that Meyer was the aide who Miele impersonated. Miele, 27, who had been indicted on four wire fraud charges and one count of aggravated identity theft, is scheduled to be sentenced April 30.

Miele faces more than two years in prison, according to estimated sentencing guidelines, a spokesperson for the US attorney's office said. Miele also acknowledged he committed access device fraud by charging credit cards without authorization to send money to the campaigns of Santos and other political candidates, and for his own personal use, prosecutors said. That fraud totaled about $100,000, they said. Santos himself is facing a 23-count federal indictment that alleges he stole the identities of campaign donors and then used their credit cards to make tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges.

Miele's lawyer, Kevin Marino, said in a statement after the plea that Miele "is an intelligent young man with a bright future who made an unfortunate mistake. "Marino did not respond to other questions about the plea, including whether Miele would testify against Santos. Miele agreed to pay about $109,000 in restitution, to forfeit another $69,000, and to make a $470,000 payment to a campaign contributor, prosecutors said. Miele is the second campaign aide to Santos to take a plea deal in a federal probe. Last month, ex-treasurer Nancy Marks pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge and implicated Santos in a scheme to embellish his campaign finance reports with a fake loan and fake donors.

(More George Santos stories.)

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