George Santos
George SantosReuters

A former fundraiser for US Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was indicted on Wednesday on federal charges that he impersonated a high-ranking congressional aide while soliciting contributions for the New York Republican’s campaign, The Associated Press reported.

Sam Miele, 27, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in an alleged scheme to defraud donors and obtain money for Santos under false pretenses, the report said. Prosecutors said Miele used a fake name and email address to impersonate a “high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities.”

The indictment did not name the person who was impersonated, but the details of the charges match with multiple news reports identifying the aide as Dan Meyer, now retired as the longtime chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who at the time was minority leader.

Santos himself was not charged in the indictment. The facts of the case rest on events that overlap with the congressman’s own alleged crimes of wire fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors said in a filing Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors said Miele sent “fraudulent fundraising solicitations” to more than a dozen prospective donors between August and December of 2021, at times signing the emails with the aide’s full name and title.

In a letter sent to Santos last September, Miele admitted to “faking my identity to a big donor,” according to the indictment. He went on to describe himself as “high risk, high reward in everything I do.”

A McCarthy spokesman confirmed they were first made aware of the impersonation in August 2021.

The indictment came three months after Santos was arrested on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress. Santos has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A New York prosecutor launched an investigation against Santos in late December after he admitted to "embellishing" his resume.

Later, the US House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate Santos over allegations that he lied extensively about his background and violated campaign finance laws.

Santos has remained defiant, saying he wouldn't drop his reelection bid and rejecting calls to resign.

Santos has also come under fire for falsely claiming to have Jewish heritage. The Forward had questioned a claim on Santos’ campaign website that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.”

In another story, the site noted that he had called himself a "proud American Jew" in a position paper that was shared with Jewish and pro-Israel leaders during his campaign.

Santos later maintained that he still identifies as “Jew-ish” despite reports showing that his grandparents were Catholics born in Brazil.