With most political activists in Northern Virginia rightfully focused in on the upcoming elections, there was some interesting developments in the case of lobbyist David Miller. He was found guilty by a federal court of defrauding multiple organizations and political campaigns out of approximately $1.5 million.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of the entire story is how Miller had frequently spoken about his passion for making a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities such as autism. He even testified before a Senate committee about the need to invest in educational opportunities for autistic students. This is an extremely worthy cause that’s actually received a lot of attention in this year’s school board races and we’re seeing progress being made as more and more people are drawing attention to the issue. Unfortunately, Miller and his wife ended up stealing $600,000 from the Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.
While it’s not as disturbing taking money taken from a worthwhile non-profit organization, Miller and his wife also embezzled $653,000 from Sen. Dick Saslaw’s campaign (for which Miller’s wife served as treasurer) and $368,000 from his employer — SkyLink Aviation.
Miller’s wife, Linda Miller, pleaded guilty to charges related to the theft of money from Saslaw’s campaign and was sentenced to 56 months in prison back in 2016. Through her role as the campaign’s treasurer, she wrote 73 checks to multiple fake law firms in order to fill her family’s bank accounts. The money eventually was used to pay their mortgage, take fancy vacations, and do some remodeling on a beach house.
For what it’s worth, I got to know David back in 2007 when he briefly was running to be Clerk of the Court in Fairfax County. I’ll admit to initially being impressed with his candidacy, but was among many people who were surprised to learn that he owed $38,000 in back taxes and there was a lien on his house (a home I had been to a few times for campaign events and to discuss his candidacy).
After these revelations were made public, I joined several other people who previously supported his campaign and called on him to drop out of the race and allow someone else to run on the Democratic ticket. While I didn’t think there would be more nefarious scandals to come and he seemed like an overall good guy, the tax scandal simply wasn’t something you wanted surrounding someone seeking a leadership position in the court system. It turns out Miller’s inability to pay taxes was just one in a long series of financial crimes his family had committed.
Back when the tax issues came out in 2007, Miller told me he didn’t know about the unpaid taxes or the lien on his house. He assured me and others that he would have settled the issue and disclosed the information if he had known about it. I was skeptical, but had no direct evidence he was being untruthful.
According to an article in the Washington Post, however, it appears as though he’s using essentially the same excuse for the newest round of charges. While he admitted to creating fake identities in order to take money from his employer and said it “was deceitful and very unethical,” he claimed to have no idea that his wife had put over $1 million of stolen money in their bank account.
Perhaps realizing nobody would buy that argument, he also suggested she deserved the money. “I think she should have earned compensation,” Miller claimed. He used a similar line of reasoning for why he shouldn’t face punishment for creating the fake identities he used to steal from SkyLink.
Hopefully the convictions of both members of the Miller family will serve as a reminder to folks that you can’t get away with unethical behavior while stealing money from organizations that the public cares about.