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George Santos campaign fundraiser who prosecutors say impersonated former House speaker’s aide pleads guilty in federal court

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., arrives as House Republicans hold a closed-door meeting to vote by secret ballot on their candidate for speaker of the House, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

CNN — The campaign fundraiser for embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge as part of a plea deal Tuesday.

Sam Miele – who worked for the Santos campaign during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles – was indicted by a federal grand jury in August and accused of soliciting contributions from more than a dozen potential contributors using former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy aide’s identity in phone and email communications.

In addition to the guilty plea, Miele also stipulated to committing access device fraud, in a loss of approximately $100,000, according to a spokesperson for Eastern District US Attorney’s office.

He was initially charged with four counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft in the alleged scheme to defraud prospective donors.

Miele did not plead guilty to identity theft as part of the plea agreement.

CNN previously reported prosecutors said Miele created an email account purporting to belong to the McCarthy staffer and sent fundraising solicitations signing the aide’s full name and title.

Santos himself was indicted in May on 13 counts of federal fraud and money laundering charges. He pleaded not guilty. He announced in April that he is running for reelection to his Long Island-based congressional seat.

Last month his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, plead guilty conspiracy to defraud the United States by committing one or more federal offenses.

Marks, a veteran GOP operative, oversaw the campaign’s finances for the Long Island Republican before being dismissed after a series of filing abnormalities led to allegations of wrongdoing against her and the candidate.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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