Imran Awan, a House IT staffer for the Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), who was under criminal investigation for bank fraud, was arrested trying to flee the country. At the time of his arrest, Awan was fleeing to the Islamic country of Pakistan, where his wife and family are living.
Fox News notes that “officers and agents from the U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and Customs and Border Protection were involved in the arrest of Imran Awan at Dulles International Airport.”
Last year, the Pakistan-born staffer was placed under criminal investigation and was banned from the entire congressional network. Awan, along with four other former House staffers were “accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network….”
Awan’s attorney,Chris Gowen, argues that Awan is being pinned as a part of a vast right-wing media conspiracy.
“This is clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim,” Gowen stated. “A quick glance at what the government filed in court today confirms the lack of evidence or proof they have against my client.”
While other House staffers that were under investigation were removed from their positions, Awan continued to work until his arrest this Thursday.
David Damron, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz stated, “Mr. Awan previously served as a part-time employee but his services have been terminated. He added, “No charges, evidence or findings from the investigation have been formally shared with our office, so we cannot comment on them.”
It has been noted that Awan also violated the Congressional Federal Credit Union policy by seeking to receive $165, 00 for a rental property through the union, since it wasn’t for the owner’s primary residence and was later transferred to two individuals residing in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Talking about Awan, Fox News reported, “the criminal complaint and affidavit said he had bought a ticket to fly Monday to Doha, Qatar, and then Lahore, Pakistan, with a return flight booked for early January. The affidavit specifically alleged he engaged in a scheme to defraud a Congressional Federal Credit Union.”
While Awan was arrested on his way to Pakistan, Alvi, another staff member that was under investigation succeeded in escaping the country with “numerous pieces of luggage” and cash that exceeds $12,000.
“Alvi, another House staff member involved in the Capitol Hill investigation, left the country with their three daughters, headed for Pakistan in March, according to an affidavit filed in the Awan case. Alvi had ‘numerous pieces of luggage’ and more than $12,000 in cash, FBI agent Brandon Merriman wrote in the affidavit,” the Politico reported.