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Fundraiser for Rep. George Santos indicted for impersonating House aide

 August 17, 2023

Samuel Miele, a former fundraising associate for Republican Rep. George Santos (NY-03), was indicted on Wednesday on charges of impersonating a high-ranking House of Representatives aide to collect potential donations from over a dozen donors. 

Miele faces four counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, as revealed in the indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, as Daily Wire reported.

Miele's Indictment: Charges and Defense

The indictment asserts that the 27-year-old Miele falsely used the identity of an aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20), securing campaign funding for Santos and claiming a 15% commission on each contribution. 

The alleged impersonated aide was not named in the court document but has been reported as Dan Meyer, who served as McCarthy's chief of staff for four years, but has since retired.

Miele's legal representative, Kevin Marino, expressed confidence in his client's innocence and anticipated a successful defense at trial, CNBC reported.

Following the arraignment, Miele was released on a $150,000 bail in Brooklyn's federal court.

The Accusations: Timeline and Connections

Federal prosecutors detailed Miele's actions between August and December of2021, accusing him of sending "fraudulent fundraising solicitations" through emails and phone calls for the New York Republican's campaign to over a dozen potential donors.

In a letter to Santos on September 26, 2022, Miele allegedly confessed to the impersonation, describing his actions as "high risk, high reward." 

McCarthy's office became aware of the impersonation in August 2021, and subsequent investigations led to Miele's dismissal, the Associated Press reported.

 The speaker told reporters in January, "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." 

Prosecutors informed two judges in the Eastern District Court that the criminal case against Miele might have an assumed connection to the campaign-related charges brought against Santos earlier in the year.

 In March 2023, Santos was charged with over 13 counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, public funds theft, and making false statements to the House.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Reactions and Implications

While Santos has also been accused of misusing campaign funds for personal luxuries, the response to his and Miele's situation has been divided among House leaders.

Some New York Republicans have even backed a Democrat-led resolution to censure Santos.

Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10) openly criticized McCarthy for protecting Santos, stating it was a "pathetic and shameful" act.

However, many Republican lawmakers emphasize the importance of allowing the legal process to unfold without jumping to conclusions or taking immediate expulsion steps.