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George Santos Aide Accused of Impersonating Kevin McCarthy Staffer Now Charged

George Santos Aide Accused of Impersonating Kevin McCarthy Staffer Now Charged

Rep. George Santos; Speak Kevin McCarthy

Samuel Miele has been accused of impersonating the chief of staff to Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy to raise campaign funds for George Santos.

A campaign aide to gay Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos is facing federal criminal charges related to a fundraising scheme in which he is accused of impersonating Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff.

Samuel Miele, 27, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and one of aggravated identity theft, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, The New York Times reports. The indictment came from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

Miele phoned or emailed more than a dozen potential campaign contributors in the “fraudulent fund-raising” effort, the indictment alleges. He told donors he was a “high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities,” it notes. He received 15 percent of all funds raised.

“According to the indictment, Mr. Miele sent emails from an account with the Republican staff member’s full name and signed his messages using that person’s official title,” the Times reports. The emails were sent between August and October 2021.

The document does not identify the aide or the congressman, but media outlets have previously reported that he was chief of staff to McCarthy. McCarthy, a Republican, was U.S. House minority leader in 2021-2022, when Santos was running for election, and became House speaker this year after his party won control of the chamber. Until May of this year, his chief of staff was Dan Meyer, who has now retired.

“My staff raised concerns when [Santos] had a staff member who impersonated my chief of staff, and that individual was let go when Mr. Santos found about it,” McCarthy told journalists in January. The Times sought comment from McCarthy Wednesday but received no response.

The indictment quotes an email to Santos in which Miele acknowledged “faking my identity to a big donor” and he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”

Santos, who represents a district on New York’s Long Island, is not named in the indictment, but he is facing charges of his own. He was charged in May with 13 counts of criminal behavior, including three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of materially false statements to Congress.

He has pleaded not guilty. Miele appeared in court Wednesday and likewise pleaded not guilty. Miele’s lawyer, Kevin H. Marino, issued a statement saying his client “looks forward to complete vindication at trial as soon as possible.”

The same lawyers in the U.S. attorney’s office are prosecuting both men, and they said in a letter that two cases are related “because the facts of each case arise out of overlapping events,” according to the Times. The paper also has asked Santos’s lawyer for comment but has not received a reply.

Miele and his companies had worked with Santos for several years, dating back at least to 2020, when Santos first ran for Congress but did not win. In 2022, in a race notable for featuring two out candidates, Santos defeated gay Democrat Robert Zimmerman.

Santos has been caught in or admitted to lies about his education, employment, and ethnic background. He has falsely claimed that he had employees who died in the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting, that his mother died as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and that his grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust. There have been calls for him to resign from Congress along with attempts to expel or censure him, but he remains in office and is running for reelection in 2024.

Pictured, from left: George Santos and Kevin McCarthy

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