A campaign associate of Representative George Santos who impersonated Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s former chief of staff was charged with wire fraud and identity theft in a federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday.
The aide, Samuel Miele, was arraigned Wednesday morning in Brooklyn federal court and released on $150,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty.
He was accused by federal prosecutors of sending “fraudulent fund-raising” emails to more than a dozen potential contributors to an unnamed candidate.
In those messages, he claimed to be a “high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities,” the indictment said. When Mr. Miele successfully solicited campaign contributions, he received a 15 percent commission, according to the indictment.
The indictment, which was filed on Tuesday, does not name Mr. Santos, a first-term Republican representing parts of Long Island and Queens. Nor does it provide more details about the House aide Mr. Miele is said to have impersonated or the member with whom he is associated.
But The New York Times and other news outlets have previously reported that Mr. Miele impersonated Mr. McCarthy’s chief of staff in a bid to solicit funds for Mr. Santos’s campaign. Mr. McCarthy later confirmed those reports and said that Mr. Miele was fired after Mr. Santos learned of his actions.
Mr. Miele was charged with four counts of wire fraud in connection with specific emails he sent between August and October 2021. He was also charged with aggravated identity theft.
The case against Mr. Miele was filed by the same prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York who are prosecuting Mr. Santos in a separate case involving wire fraud. In a letter filed today, prosecutors advised the court that the cases should be considered related.
Mr. Santos has been charged with 13 counts of money laundering, wire fraud, theft of public funds and false statements following an investigation into his finances. He has pleaded not guilty.
A lawyer for Mr. Santos did not immediately return a request for comment.
According to the indictment, Mr. Miele wrote an email to Mr. Santos in which he admitted “faking my identity to a big donor,” but added that he was “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”