George Santos' campaign fundraiser pleads guilty in latest blow to congressman

Washington DC - A former fundraiser for the campaign of beleaguered Congressman George Santos has pled guilty to fraud as part of a plea deal.

Sam Miele, the former campaign fundraiser for Congressman George Santos, took a plea deal and pled guilty to federal wire fraud on Tuesday.
Sam Miele, the former campaign fundraiser for Congressman George Santos, took a plea deal and pled guilty to federal wire fraud on Tuesday.  © Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

According to a statement from The Department of Justice, Sam Miele (27) pled guilty to a federal wire fraud charge on Tuesday, admitting that he "used fraud and deceit to steal more than $100,000 from his victims, funneling this money into the campaign committees of candidates for the House, and into his own pockets."

Back in August, Miele was indicted on four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft after he "falsely and without authorization impersonated" an unnamed person "for the purpose of soliciting financial contributions to support [Santos'] campaign and enriching himself through commissions earned."

Miele allegedly sent tons of "fraudulent fund-raising" emails and made phone calls to potential donors claiming he was a "high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities."

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As part of his plea deal, Miele has agreed to pay $109,171 in restitution, $69,136 in forfeiture, and a separate stipulated payment of $470,000 to a contributor. It's unclear if he will be forced to testify against Santos, who is facing 23 felony charges himself.

Sam Miele's attorney defends his client

Miele is the second former aide to Santos' campaign that has accepted a plea deal from prosecutors as part of their probe. In October, former campaign treasurer Nancy Marks pled guilty to a conspiracy charge. Instead of defending his former confidants, Santos has argued that he shouldn't have to "defend myself for things that I pay someone else to do."

According to AP News, an attorney for Miele described him as "an intelligent young man with a bright future who made an unfortunate mistake."

"He has taken full responsibility for his actions and looks forward to putting this episode behind him and getting on with his life," the attorney added.

Miele, who is facing up to 20 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on in April 2024.

Cover photo: Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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