George Santos-linked fundraiser indicted after allegedly impersonating top House aide

George Santos-linked fundraiser indicted after allegedly impersonating top House aide

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Samuel Miele, a campaign fundraiser who did work for 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 House leadership while contacting donors for Santos’ campaign efforts, according to an indictment and related memo filed in federal court. 

The person Miele allegedly impersonated during the 2022 election cycle — labeled “Person #1” in the indictment — is believed to be the chief of staff to now-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, according to previous reports from CNBC, The New York Times and others. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York alerted federal judges in New York in a separate memo 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.” Prosecutors are required to give notice to a judge whenever it appears that one case may be related to another. 

Santos’ office declined to comment on Miele.

Santos, a freshman congressman from New York’s Long Island, was charged with fraud, money laundering and more crimes in May, and has pleaded not guilty on all counts. 

“Specifically, a grand jury in United States v. Devolder Santos returned an indictment charging defendant Devolder Santos with, among other things, five counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering related to Devolder Santos’s efforts to defraud prospective contributors to a purported independent expenditure committee that would support his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2020 election cycle,” reads a memo from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace to federal judges in New York. “Similarly, a grand jury in United States v. Miele has returned an indictment charging Miele with four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identify theft related to Miele’s 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, according tot he indictment, admitted in a letter to “faking my identity to a big donor,” saying he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.” 

An initial court date has not yet been set for Miele. 

Prosecutors in Santos’ case laid out an alleged scheme in which they say Santos operated a limited liability company to defraud prospective supporters of his 2022 congressional campaign. Federal prosecutors allege 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. Then, prosecutors allege he spent thousands of dollars on personal expenses, including designer clothes. In addition to his federal court case, Santos faces an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

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