George Santos Campaign Staffer Admits Defrauding Donors By Impersonating Speaker's Aide

A campaign staffer who worked to elect New York Rep. George Santos has confessed to impersonating a high-level Congressional aide in order to raise money for him and line his own pockets.

New York Rep. George Santos.

New York Rep. George Santos.

Photo Credit: US House/Wikimedia Commons user Americasroof

Samuel Miele, age 27, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in Central Islip federal court on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Miele was a fundraiser for Santos’ congressional campaigns in both 2020 and 2022, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District.

Santos ran as a Republican and was elected to the 3rd District seat in November 2022, representing parts of Nassau County and Queens.

Prosecutors alleged that between August and December 2021, Miele “falsely and without authorization” impersonated the Congressional staffer in emails and phone calls to over a dozen potential donors in an effort to raise campaign funds.

In order to fool donors, he created a phony email address and signed his messages using the aide’s full name and title, prosecutors said.

The indictment did not name the Congressional aide who was impersonated, but NBC News reported he is Dan Meyer, who served as former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff.

Money that was raised through the scheme was reportedly transferred into a bank account controlled by Santos’ campaign in Suffolk County. For his work, Miele earned a 15 percent commission on any funds that he raised.

Prosecutors said Santos knew about the scheme, citing an email that Miele sent him in September 2022 in which Miele allegedly admitted “faking my identity to a big donor,” and said he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”

“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,” said US Attorney Breon Peace.
“Defrauding potential political contributors undermines our democracy, and we will vigorously prosecute such conduct.”

As part of his guilty plea, Miele agreed to pay $109,171 in restitution, $69,135 in forfeiture, and a separate stipulated payment of $470,000 to a contributor.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced at a later date.

Not the First Guilty Plea

Miele is the second Santos campaign staffer to confess to federal crimes. In October 2023 Nancy Marks, a former campaign treasurer during Santos’ two congressional bids, pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy.

Marks, age 58, of Shirley, admitted that she and Santos recorded phony campaign finance reports stating that Santos had loaned his campaign $500,000.

They made the claim despite Santos not having made the loan and not having the money to do so, in order to bring in more donors, she said.

Marks pleaded guilty to conspiring with a congressional candidate to:

  • Commit wire fraud;
  • make materialistically false statements;
  • obstruct the administration of the Federal Election Commission (FEC);
  • and commit aggravated identity theft.

She faces up to five years in prison and a fine.

Santos himself is facing a total of 23 federal criminal counts, including identity theft, wire fraud, money laundering, and lying to Congress.

Among his alleged crimes, according to prosecutors, was a scheme to steal thousands of dollars from his campaign donors. 

He's also accused of illegally receiving more than $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is scheduled to stand trial in September 2024.

Related Coverage:

to follow Daily Voice Northwest Dutchess and receive free news updates.