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Campaign fundraiser for George Santos is indicted for impersonating top aide to House Speaker McCarthy


By Lauren del Valle, CNN

(CNN) — A campaign fundraiser for indicted US Rep. George Santos has been charged for allegedly impersonating a high-ranking congressional aide to solicit contributions for the New York Republican’s campaign in 2021, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted Samuel Miele, who worked for the Santos campaign during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, on four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the alleged scheme to defraud prospective donors, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Miele allegedly impersonated a top aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, according to a source familiar with the case.

He allegedly solicited contributions from more than a dozen potential contributors using the aide’s identity in phone and email communications, the indictment says.

Miele created an email account purporting to belong to the McCarthy staffer and sent fundraising solicitations signing the aide’s full name and title, prosecutors allege.

Santos’ fundraiser received a 15% commission on the campaign contributions he raised, the filing says.

According to the indictment, Miele wrote to Santos in a September 2022 letter, “Faking my identity to a big donor.”

“High risk, high reward in everything I do,” Miele also wrote.

An attorney for Miele, Kevin H. Marino, said in a statement to CNN that his client “is not guilty of these charges.”

“He looks forward to complete vindication at trial as soon as possible,” Marino said.

The latest indictment does not specifically identify Santos, McCarthy or his aide by name in the filing.

Additional court documents clarify that the unnamed candidate in the indictment is Santos.

Miele surrendered Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Brooklyn federal court later in the day.

He was released on a $150,000 bond.

A status conference has been scheduled for August 22 in the Eastern District of New York.

Santos himself was indicted in May on 13 counts of federal fraud and money laundering charges. He pleaded not guilty. He announced in April that he is running for reelection to his Long Island-based congressional seat.

Representatives for McCarthy did not immediately respond for comment on the matter.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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