Samuel Miele, a fundraiser for Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has been charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of identity theft amid allegations he impersonated a top aide to House of Representatives leadership.
The indictment against Miele was handed up by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on Tuesday, and it was unsealed Wednesday.
The grand jury’s indictment does not reveal the impersonated aide by name. However, a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in February accused Miele of impersonating Dan Meyer, former chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Prosecutors say that in 2021, Miele set up an email account using the aide’s first initial and full last name, then used the account to ask for donations from more than a dozen people. In exchange, Miele was paid a 15% commission on his fundraising, according to court filings.
The indictment says Miele admitted to “faking my identity to a big donor” in a letter to Santos in September 2022. The freshman congress member was elected to the House that November.
It’s the latest chapter in the legally embattled saga of Rep. Santos, who pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal counts at the federal court in New York’s Eastern District on May 10.
Charges against him 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.
Wire fraud is the most serious count, carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. If Santos or Miele is found guilty of the multiple counts against each of them, it would be up to the judges in their cases to decide whether either should serve his sentences concurrently or consecutively.
Meanwhile, Santos is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding whether he may have “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign,” among a series of allegations.
Several House Democrats have filed to censure Santos, though their resolution has little chance of passing in the Republican-controlled chamber.
Within a month of taking the oath of office in January Santos asked to be removed from his House committee seats until his various legal issues are resolved.
Santos filed for reelection in 2024 on March 14.