Nov 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Santos campaign fundraiser pleads guilty to fraud

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) arrives for the weekly House Republican conference meeting Nov. 7 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A former fundraiser for Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud.

Why it matters: Samuel Miele's admission comes as the embattled Santos has repeatedly resisted calls to resign and survived a GOP-led measure to expel him from Congress.

  • Miele, who was indicted in August, admitted to impersonating a member of Congress' staffer while asking for campaign funds as well as "charging donors' credit cards without their consent," per Reuters.
  • As part of his guilty plea, prosecutors said Miele has agreed to pay $109,171 in restitution, $69,136 in forfeiture as well as make a $470,000 payment to a political contributor.

Details: Prosecutors alleged Miele had impersonated an aide to then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) while fundraising for Santos' campaign.

  • Miele also admitted to committing "access device fraud" by charging credit cards without "authorization for contributions" to Santos' and other candidates' campaigns, in addition to personal use.

What they're saying: "The defendant used fraud and deceit to steal more than one hundred thousand dollars from his victims, funneling this money into the campaign committees of candidates for the House, and into his own pockets," Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said Tuesday.

What's next: Miele is set to be sentenced in April and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, per the DOJ.

Zoom out: Santos has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.

  • The Long Islander was indicted in May on 13 counts, including charges of wire fraud and money laundering, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.
  • He was charged with 10 more counts in a superseding indictment in October, including credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Go deeper: GOP-led measure to expel George Santos defeated in House vote

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