(PatriotWise.com) — A former campaign staffer for New York Republican Rep. George Santos on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge for posing as the chief of staff to then-Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to defraud donors, NBC News reported.
In August, Samuel Miele was charged with identity theft and wire fraud for posing as McCarthy’s chief of staff while raising money for the Santos campaign during the midterm election.
Prosecutors alleged that Miele posed as McCarthy’s top aide while speaking to more than a dozen possible donors for the Santos campaign and raking in a 15% commission for each donation.
According to the plea form filed with the judge, Miele admitted that from August until December 2021, he posed as McCarthy’s chief of staff while telephoning and emailing potential donors.
Additionally, Miele admitted that from November 2020 until January 2023, he charged around $100,000 on several donor credit cards without authorization, with some going to campaigns and some going to himself.
As part of the plea agreement, Miele agreed to pay restitution of $109,171, along with $69,136 in forfeiture. He will also pay another $470,000 to a campaign donor.
A judge will sentence Miele on April 30, when he could face up to 20 years in prison.
His attorney, Kevin Marino, declined to say if Miele would cooperate with the investigation into Rep. Santos. Marino told NBC New York that his client accepted responsibility and looked “forward to putting this behind him.”
The embattled New York Congressman’s office did not comment on Miele’s plea.
However, in August, Santos told the Associated Press that he dismissed Miele in 2021 after learning that he impersonated McCarthy’s aide.
According to prosecutors, Miele explained his actions to Rep. Santos in a letter last year. He admitted “faking” his identity when speaking to a donor and attempted to excuse his actions by arguing that “high risk, high reward” is what he does.
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