Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country

Imran Awan, a House staffer at the center of a criminal investigation potentially impacting dozens of Democratic lawmakers, has been arrested on bank fraud and is prevented from leaving the country while the charges are pending.

A senior House Democratic aide confirmed Awan was still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as of Tuesday morning. A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz did not return multiple calls and emails from POLITICO requesting comment.

Awan pled not guilty on Tuesday to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Awan is accused of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which is against the credit union’s policies. Those funds were then included as part of a wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport on Monday evening before boarding a flight to Lahore, Pakistan. His wife, Hina Alvi, has already left the country for Pakistan along with their children. Federal agents do not believe Alvi has any intention of returning to the U.S., according to a court document.

Awan was released Tuesday on a “high-intensity supervision program,” according to a DOJ spokesman. He must wear a GPS monitor, abide by a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and cannot leave a 50-mile radius of his Lorton, Va., home. He was also forced to surrender his passports and is scheduled to reappear in court for a preliminary hearing Aug. 21.

Awan, a longtime IT staffer who worked for more than two dozen House Democrats, has been at the center of a criminal investigation on Capitol Hill for months related to procurement theft. Several of his family members, also IT staffers at the time, were implicated in the ongoing investigation.

Most Democratic lawmakers cut ties with Awan and his family after the criminal investigation came to light in early February. But Awan has continued to be employed by Wasserman Schultz, although it’s unclear what his job duties are given he has been barred from accessing the House IT system for months.

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.

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