A former Congressional staffer for embattled New York Rep. George Santos has been indicted on federal charges.
Twenty-seven-year-old Samuel Miele was charged for reportedly impersonating an aide who worked for U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The charges include aggravated identity theft and at least four counts of wire fraud, according to court documents.
The federal indictment was unsealed on Wednesday and lays out allegations by federal prosecutors of "fraudulent fund-raising" done over the phone and by email.
According to charging documents, Miele told people he was a "high-ranking aide to a member of the House with leadership responsibilities."
Miele allegedly received a 15% commission for the campaign contributions he was able to secure. The indictment didn't explicitly identify Speaker McCarthy or Rep. Santos, according to multiple reports.
Miele was arraigned on Wednesday in a Brooklyn federal court, where he pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bond, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office.
Rep. Santos said on Friday his campaign fired Miele, but after he allegedly used the name Reyem Nad in an invitation to his staff members inviting them to a lunch at the Empire State building.
Santos said he and his staff realized the name was Dan Meyer spelled backwards. Meyer was an alias Miele allegedly fraudulently used, which is the same name as the then chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy was the Republican minority leader at the time.
Santos said his "staffers called the restaurant and figured out it was Sam."
Santos said he didn't go to the meeting but said he sent his then-treasurer, Nancy Marks. Marks allegedly spoke to Miele to tell him he wasn't going to be hired back, according to spokesperson Gabrielle Lipsky, the Associated Press reported.
In May, Santos' Communications Director, Naysa Woomer, resigned.
The departure of Woomer, a prominent Republican communications adviser, was the latest in a string of bad news for Santos, who was indicted on 13 counts, including fraud and money laundering, by Department of Justice officials.
Woomer previously worked for GOP Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Reps. Ryan Costello, Thomas Massie, and Tim Huelskamp.
"With respect for my colleagues, the people of New York, and most importantly, myself, I am honored to tender my resignation," Woomer said in an email.
Woomer said of the departure, appearing to direct the comment toward Santos, "Unfortunately, you never took one point of professional advice given."
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