George Santos Fundraiser Faces Federal Charges for Allegedly Impersonating Kevin McCarthy Aide

A fundraiser working on behalf of Republican Rep. George Santos was indicted for allegedly impersonating an aide who served as chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Samuel Miele, who worked as a Santos fundraiser during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, has been charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, The Hill reports. He allegedly impersonated top aide Dan Meyer while soliciting donations for the New York politician’s campaign.

In a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in a Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors alleged that Miele, 27, was behind “fraudulent fund-raising” emails and phone calls that were sent and made to more than a dozen potential campaign contributors, according to The New York Times.

Miele was arraigned on Wednesday in a Brooklyn federal court, John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York, told The New York Times. He pleaded not guilty, Marzulli said, and was released on $150,000 bond.

The documents do not identify the name of the staffer who was impersonated or the legislator they worked for, but a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission in February accused Miele of impersonating Meyer, who served as chief of staff to McCarthy from 2019 to June, reports The Hill.

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End Citizens United, a political action committee that endorses campaign finance reform, filed the complaint to the FEC. The group cited reports that accused Miele of impersonating Meyer in 2020 and 2022. The FEC said it was done “for the purpose of soliciting financial contributions to Santos’s campaign.”

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Federal law also bars individuals from falsely representing themselves as someone acting on behalf of a candidate to solicit contributions, according to the complaint, reports The Hill.

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“Respondents appear to have violated this well-established prohibition, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Santos’s congressional campaign under false pretenses,” the complaint reads.

Miele claimed to be a “high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities,” the indictment said, as reported by The New York Times, which noted that Miele received a 15 percent commission whenever he obtained campaign contributions, according to court filings.

“Respondents appear to have violated this well-established prohibition, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Santos’s congressional campaign under false pretenses,” the complaint reads.

Prosecutors allege Miele set up an email account with the first letter and full last name of the political staffer and used the account to ask for donations from more than a dozen people in 2021, The Hill reports.

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The indictment accuses Miele of defrauding campaign contributors via a series of emails he sent seeking monetary donations. Each of the four emails sent corresponds to one count of wire fraud, while the fifth charge of aggravated identity theft was brought for Miele allegedly using the aide’s name while committing the other offenses.

According to the indictment, weeks before Santos’ election, in September 2022 Miele wrote a letter to the U.S. Representative, 35, in which he’s alleged to have admitted to “faking my identity to a big donor,” adding that he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do,” according to court filings.

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Miele’s latest indictment is the newest legal issue connected to Santos, who pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges in May. Those charges include seven counts of 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.

“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a May 10 statement.

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Santos, Peace alleged, “used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives.”

The congressman has faced bipartisan calls to resign and was called “a liar” on the floor of the House during his first day on the job.

While McCarthy and other Republicans have tasked the House Ethics Committee with deciding whether there are grounds to expel Santos from Congress, he filed reelection paperwork for 2024 and doubled down on his intent to seek another term even after the charges were announced.

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