A Brooklyn federal grand jury on Tuesday returned an indictment against a top former fundraiser and vendor for Rep. George Santos (R-NY)’s campaign for impersonating a top House Republican staffer.
Sam Miele faces four counts of wire fraud and one of identity theft, per the indictment.
Miele didn’t return TPM’s requests for comment. He reportedly entered a not guilty plea at a Wednesday arraignment.
The feds cited a September 2022 letter which Miele allegedly sent to Santos, in which he copped to “faking my identity to a big donor” while describing himself as “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”
Santos fired Miele after discovering that he had impersonated Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s chief of staff on fundraising calls.
Miele allegedly earned a 15 percent commission on funds which he raised for the campaign.
The indictment does not name Santos, nor does it say which staffer Miele allegedly impersonated. But the description in the indictment matches reporting that Miele impersonated McCarthy chief of staff Dan Meyer. Prosecutors said that Miele did so to pump up campaign contributions and thereby enrich himself off of the commission
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn brought charges against Santos in May in a separate wire fraud case.
Santos drew attention to himself after his election last year after it emerged that nearly his entire background was a lie. TPM found a series of bizarre irregularities in his federal campaign finance filings, including donors who said that the campaign charged them without their consent.
TPM reported that Miele appeared to act both as a fundraiser for the campaign and a vendor. His company, The One 57 Group LLC, received $43,088.21 from the Santos campaign, and $9,965 from Rise NY PAC, a New York state committee which supported Santos and was run by his sister.
The One 57 Group billed itself as having interests in real estate, capital investments, and “business & political.”
The indictment alleges that Miele sent “fraudulent fund-raising emails” to dozens of potential contributors, and charges him with wire fraud for four of the messages. Those interactions took place between August and October 2021.
Miele was released on a $150,000 bond.