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George Santos Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty in Donation Fraud Scheme

George Santos Breaking News
Image: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The guilty plea from Samuel Miele adds to the legal troubles for the embattled gay New York congressman. Miele is the second former Santos aide to plead guilty to criminal charges.

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Samuel Miele, a 27-year-old former fundraiser for U.S. Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a count of wire fraud, a significant development in the ongoing saga surrounding Santos, the first out gay Republican elected to Congress.

Miele’s guilty plea aligns with details from a federal indictment that outlined his fraudulent activities while working on Santos’ campaign.

As reported by The Advocate, despite facing numerous legal and ethical challenges, including a failed GOP-led resolution to expel him, Santos narrowly retained his position in Congress. In a recent CNN interview, Santos addressed his multiple fabrications, attributing them to personal “stupidity” and “insecurity.”

The federal indictment against Miele provided a detailed account of his illegal activities. He was initially charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The indictment revealed that Miele impersonated an aide to then-Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to secure donations for Santos, creating an email account that mimicked the McCarthy aide’s identity to send fraudulent fundraising requests.

Related: George Santos Doesn’t Rule Out Plea Deal, Still Insists His Grandparents Survived the Holocaust

Miele admitted to this scheme in a letter to Santos in September 2022.

Miele’s scheme involved soliciting contributions from over a dozen potential donors, with each successful donation earning him a 15 percent commission. This fraudulent activity was part of a broader pattern of alleged misconduct within Santos’ campaign, which also implicated former campaign treasurer Nancy Marks. Marks pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy for submitting false financial reports to inflate the number of Santos’ donors.

Related: George Santos Dodges Expulsion as House Vote Falls Short of Ousting the Embattled Gay Lawmaker

Miele’s actions led to an FEC complaint earlier this year, alleging he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Santos through fraud. His sentencing is set for April 30.

Santos himself faces significant legal issues, having been indicted on a dozen federal fraud charges, including the misuse of campaign funds and fraudulent collection of COVID unemployment benefits while drawing a substantial salary. He has consistently denied these allegations.

Related: George Santos Pleads Not Guilty to 10 New Charges Amid Growing Calls for Expulsion

The unfolding story around Santos, marked by legal intricacies and public scrutiny, continues to be a point of interest and concern within the LGBTQ+ community. Santos’s trial is slated for September 9, 2024.

This story is developing.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).