Former Santos Aide Admits To Fraud

Another former aide to embattled Republican Representative George Santos has pleaded guilty to a crime.

On Tuesday, 27-year-old Samuel Miele pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud as well as stipulating to committing access device fraud.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the office prosecuting the case against Santos and his associates, made the announcement of the plea deal.
Miele was a one-time fundraiser for Santos. As part of his plea, he admitted that he personated a leadership aide in the House and also charged the credit cards of donors without having authorization to do so.

He also admitted that he did all of this while he was working directly for Santos, who was running for a seat on the House representing New York at the time. Miele is now the second former aide to Santos who has pleaded guilty to a crime.

The guilty plea is expected to ramp up the pressure that’s being placed on Santos in Washington, D.C. Many lawmakers from each side of the political aisle have called on Santos to resign from office.

After the freshman congressman has repeatedly refused to do so, many of these same colleagues of his have called for him to be removed from office. However, there have so far been two official votes on whether he should be ousted from Congress, and he’s survived both of them.

In October, 179 bipartisan members of the House voted to expel Santos. That fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority required to remove a member from the lower chamber.

In addition to his political standing in Congress, the plea deal is expected to put him in a more tenuous legal position than he’s already in. Santos has been indicted on 23 different federal charges, though he’s denied all wrongdoing.

The admission by Miele that he charged the credit cards of donors fraudulently aligns with some charges being levied on Santos himself. It’s not yet clear whether his former aide will testify against Santos during his trial.

The U.S. attorney’s office said that Miele will be sentenced on April 30 of next year.

In the coming days, it’s expected that the Ethics Committee in the House will release a final report about the investigation it has conducted into Santos. In October, the panel said that before November 17, it would reveal the “next course of action” for the probe.

The panel has been investigating various claims that have been made about Santos.

Many lawmakers have said that they’re expecting that report to be quite damning to Santos. Representative Nick LaLota from New York is at least one Republican congressman who said he would force another ouster vote against Santos after the final report is released.

Sticking to his guns even more, Santos has in the past said that even if he were voted to be removed from Congress that he would still be running an election for his seat on the House in 2024.