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Awan Brothers: Wasserman Schultz’s IT Aide Arrested Trying To Flee The Country

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Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s right-hand information technology (IT) aide was arrested attempting to leave the country just a few hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation.

The employees had wired $283,000 from a House office building to two individuals in Pakistan, and carried $12,000 in cash on him at the airport.

“On January 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm, an international wire transfer request form was submitted [at the Congressional Federal Credit Union] at the Longworth House Office Building in the District of Columbia, in the amount of $283,000.00, to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan,” according to a 10-page affidavit obtained by TheDCNF.

Imran Awan, a Pakistani-born IT aide, had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democratic National Committee business before she resigned as its head in July 2016. He was apprehended while attempting to flee the U.S., Fox News first reported.

Soon after Imran began working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, four of his relatives appeared on the payroll of other Democrats — many from Wasserman Schultz’s home state of Florida — at inflated salaries, but Democratic staffers said they were rarely seen at work. They collected $4 million in total.

House authorities told members in February that Awan and his relatives were suspects in a criminal investigation into theft and IT abuses, and they were banned from the Capitol network.

Wasserman Schultz has refused to fire Awan, despite being a known criminal suspect in a cybersecurity probe for months, and has blocked Capitol Police from searching a laptop they confiscated because it was tied to Awan.

TheDCNF reported Sunday night that the FBI had joined the investigation and seized smashed hard drives from Awan’s home. The next day, the FBI apprehended him at Dulles Airport after noticing that he had purchased a ticket to Pakistan, routed through Qutar.

The affidavit says he was charged with bank fraud due to a mortgage scheme, which was one of several financial schemes TheDCNF has detailed. It appears to be a placeholder for future charges, spurred because of the attempt to leave the country, and does not mention his work for Congress, which is the investigation’s primary focus.

As TheDCNF has reported, the Awans own numerous rental properties that often have multiple mortgages taken out on them, and they have told renters they want payments in untraceable ways. The charging documents say Imran’s wife Hina Alvi, who also made $165,000 working for House Democrats, took out a second mortgage against a house from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by falsely claiming it was her “principal residence” and that she will “occupy” the property, and also fraudulently reported no rental income on her taxes.

A renter told the FBI “they paid approximately $2,000 per month for rent and that the rent check was written to Suriaya Begum. Based on information and belief, I know that Begum is Alvia’s mother,” an FBI agent wrote.

The agent also said Imran appears to have applied for the loan in his wife’s name.

Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, have suggested that police had framed the Pakistani-born brothers out of Islamophobia. Yet his own stepmother, a devout Muslim, filed court documents accusing him of using high-tech devices to wiretap her and extorting her (see p. 23 of court documents in that case). A dozen people who have dealt with Imran painted a picture in interviews with TheDCNF of a charming, “cunning” extrovert who bragged about his power among Democratic officials and who seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for cash.

Bill Miller, spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told TheDCNF that Awan “was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. He pled not guilty and was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program. The conditions of release are that he receive a GPS monitor, he abide by a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and that he not leave a 50-mile radius of his residence in Virginia. Awan was also ordered to turn over all of his passports.”

Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman, David Damron, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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