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Santos Aide Pleads Guilty On Federal Fraud Charge

Samuel Miele, an aide to Rep. George Santos, entered a guilty plea deal Tuesday on a federal charge of fraud, the Washington Post reports. It was in connection with a scheme that included impersonating the then-chief of staff for former House speaker Kevin McCarthy to attract donors to Santos’s campaign for Congress. In August 2021, Miele collected money for Santos, then a candidate, by claiming he was seeking the contribution on the McCarthy aide’s behalf, according to a federal indictment. As part of the plea, Miele has agreed to pay about $650,000 in restitution and forfeiture. The fraud he admitted to involved about $100,000. Miele’s plea came three months after his arrest and it makes him the second person involved in Santos’s campaign to plead guilty to crimes involving the legislator, who also faces fraud charges.

Santos gained notoriety when after his successful campaign it became known that he lied in a number of personal and professional claims, including about his ethnicity, family hardships, his education and past jobs. After being outed on those assertions and getting indicted, he has refused to resign and recently survived a House vote to expel him from his seat. Last month, Santos’s legal problems escalated when the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which also operates in Central Islip, N.Y., filed a superseding indictment that alleged he stole relatives’ identities and used donors’ credit cards. He was previously indicted over alleged wrongdoing including defrauding donors and falsely obtaining unemployment benefits. Santos has maintained his innocence. Miele, who has been free on a $150,000 bond since his arrest in August, had been charged by federal prosecutors in New York with wire fraud and identity theft for his role in soliciting donations from contributors to Santos’s 2022 campaign. To do that, he made a fake email account.

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