Samuel Miele, 27, worked for Santos during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles as a campaign fundraiser. He is facing four federal felony counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The scope of the indictment alleges that between August and December 2021, Miele "falsely and without authorization impersonated" a person who was "a high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities … for the purpose of soliciting contributions to the campaign and enriching himself through commissions earned."
The funds Miele garnered were then deposited into Santos' campaign account, after which Miele received a 15 percent commission.
The person Miele allegedly impersonated is not named in the federal indictment. But the details of the charges match with multiple news reports from earlier this year noting how Miele was fired from Santos' staff when he allegedly claimed to be Dan Meyer, the former longtime chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who at the time the incidents took place was the House Minority Leader.
As part of Miele's schemes, he created an email account using the first letter and full last name of Meyer and signed the emails with the aide's full name and title. This email account was allegedly used during the time period presented in the indictment.
And then on Sept. 26, 2022, Miele allegedly sent a letter to Santos "in which he admitted to 'faking my identity to a big donor,' but stated that he was 'high risk, high reward in everything I do,'" reads the indictment, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Miele was immediately arraigned on the indictment and pleaded not guilty to the charges in a federal court in Brooklyn. He was released on a $150,000 bond.
Miele's attorney, Kevin Marino, told reporters that his client is not guilty of these charges. "He looks forward to complete vindication at trial as soon as possible," Marino said.
Miele's alleged ruse was discovered when a suspicious Santos donor reached out to Meyer through intermediaries and asked him about the fundraising pitch.
"This isn't me," Meyer told the donor, according to the indictment.
The indictment against Miele comes just three months after Santos himself was arrested on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress. Like Miele, Santos has pleaded not guilty to these charges and insisted he has no plans to resign from Congress. (Related: George Santos tied to Ilhan Omar-style immigration marriage scam.)
Santos was not named in the indictment against Miele. But the events outlined in Miele's case overlap with the congressman's own alleged crimes. Because of this overlap, prosecutors have notified the two judges covering both cases and suggested that it "may be appropriate" to reassign both to one judge which "may result in significant savings of judicial resources and serve the interests of justice."
Democrats have also immediately rushed to criticize Santos and the entirety of the Republican Party over Miele's actions.
Rep. Dan Goldman, a Democrat representing a district covering lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, near Santos' own district which covers parts of Queens and Nassau County in Long Island, criticized McCarthy for not sacking Santos.
"According to a federal indictment, George Santos paid someone to impersonate Kevin McCarthy's chief of staff to raise money, yet McCarthy continues to protect Santos," said Goldman. "Pathetic and shameful."
McCarthy, protecting a very narrow majority in the House, has stopped short of calling for Santos to be expelled.
Learn more about incidents involving members of the Republican Party at VoteRepublican.news.
Watch this clip of a staffer for Santos being caught on a secret recording saying she hopes he does get kicked out of Congress.