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Former George Santos fundraiser pleads guilty to wire fraud

Washington — A former campaign fundraiser for New York Republican Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. 

Samuel Miele — who served as a fundraiser for the Republican's campaign during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to court documents — also stipulated to committing access device fraud that totaled about $100,000 in losses when he appeared in federal court. 

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Miele was charged earlier this year after allegations surfaced that he had impersonated a high-ranking congressional aide while soliciting contributions for Santos' campaign. The original indictment charged him with four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in an alleged fraud scheme.

The person Miele allegedly impersonated during the 2022 election cycle — labeled "Person #1" in the indictment — is believed to be the chief of staff to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, according to previous reports from CNBC, The New York Times and others.

However, in taking a plea deal on Tuesday, Miele admitted only that he had committed wire fraud, not identity theft. He previously pleaded not guilty to both.

Charging documents filed in August alleged Miele fraudulently solicited campaign funds under false pretenses for Santos' campaign.

Miele is the second former associate of Santos' campaign to enter a guilty plea with prosecutors. Last month, his former campaign treasurer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, admitting she had fraudulently reported hundreds of thousands in fake loans that Santos claimed to have made to his campaign.

Santos was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives and one count of theft of public funds.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Miele's attorneys had no comment and Santos' office said it could not comment on the matter.

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