Imran Awan

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Shahid Imran Awan[1] (born 1980) is a Pakistani-American information technology worker. He worked as a shared employee for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time of his arrest in July 2017, he had been working as an information technologist in Congress for 13 years. He has been involved in multiple investigations in 2017, and is currently awaiting trial on charges of bank fraud.

Biography[edit]

Awan was born in Pakistan in 1980.[2] He won a green card for himself and his family in the green card lottery when he was 14.[3] After emigrating to the US in 1997, Awan worked at a fast-food restaurant while attending community college, then transferred to Johns Hopkins University where he earned a degree in information technology.[3] He became a U.S. citizen in 2004[4] and resided in Lorton, Virginia.[5][6] Awan started working on Capitol Hill in January 2004 as an information technology director for Robert Wexler.[7] His wife Hina Alvi, his two brothers, a sister-in-law, and two friends also worked as congressional information technology staffers. Awan worked as a shared employee, providing technical support for 25 other House Democrats.[7][8] In 2009, Pakistani farmers alleged that Awan registered fraud cases against them to pressure them to drop their potential cases[clarification needed] against Awan's father.[1]

Alleged procurement scam[edit]

In March 2016, House auditors noticed some purchases for computer equipment were broken into multiple parts below $500, and left off the House inventory. Some of this equipment was delivered to the Awan brothers' house.[3]

On February 2, 2017, the Sergeant-at-Arms briefed top staffers for members of Congress that the U.S. Capitol Police was conducting an active criminal investigation into the actions of five IT House employees — four men and a woman — who were being investigated allegations of procurement scam and violating the House IT network rules. Subsequently, it was also revealed to the general public that there was an ongoing investigation. These five employees were barred from the computer networks at the House of Representatives.[9]

Later Awan, his wife, Hina Alvi, his two brothers and his friend were named as the five IT staffers being investigated. Given the suspected violations, most of the congress members terminated Awan's services, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida, however, continued to employ Awan in an advisory role.[8][7][10]

On March 5, 2017, the FBI and Capitol Police stopped Awan's wife, Hina Alvi, at Washington Dulles International Airport. They allowed her and her three children to get on the flight to Lahore.[7][11]

Bank fraud court case[edit]

On July 24, 2017, the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police arrested Awan at Dulles Airport.[7][12] He had previously purchased a ticket to Lahore, Pakistan, with a return flight in January 2018.[13][14] Awan was arraigned the following day and pleaded not guilty to one count of bank fraud.[7] He was ordered to surrender his passports,[5] abide by a curfew, and wear a GPS device. Wasserman Schultz fired Awan on July 25 after learning about his arrest.[7][15]

On August 17, 2017, a federal grand jury, convened in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, indicted Awan and his wife on four counts, including conspiracy, making false statements, bank fraud, and unlawful monetary transactions.[16][17] They were charged with conspiring to obtain home equity loans for $165,000 and $120,000 from the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union in Oakton, Virginia and transferring the money to Pakistan.[4][18] In January 2017 the couple had wired $283,000 from Alvi's credit union checking account to two individuals in Faisalabad.[18] The indictment made no mention of an investigation related to procurement theft.[4]

On September 1, 2017, Awan pleaded not guilty to all of these charges.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Influential expat shields father from long arm of law". Dawn. September 4, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2017. 
  2. ^ "FBI arrests US lawmaker's Pakistan-born IT aide Imran Awan for bank fraud". Financial Express. July 27, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Boburg, Shawn (September 16, 2017). "Federal probe into House technology worker Imran Awan yields intrigue, no evidence of espionage". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Sherman, Amy (August 18, 2017). "Wasserman Schultz's former IT worker and his wife indicted in bank-fraud scheme". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Reid, Paula (July 26, 2017). "Former Wasserman Schultz IT staffer arrested on charges of bank fraud". CBS News. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ Watkins, JEli (July 27, 2017). "Democratic staffer arrested on bank fraud charge". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Fandos, Nicholas. "Trump Fuels Intrigue Surrounding a Former I.T. Worker's Arrest". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 29, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Caygle, Heather (February 6, 2017). "House staffers under criminal investigation still employed". Politico. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ Caygle, Heather (February 2, 2017). "House staffers under criminal investigation for alleged equipment theft". Politico. Retrieved September 3, 2017. 
  10. ^ Daugherty, Alex; Sherman, Amy (July 26, 2017). "Wasserman Schultz kept paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers". Miami Herald. The McClatchy Company. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ Hsu, Spencer S. (July 26, 2017). "Congressional IT staffer charged with home equity loan fraud". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  12. ^ Watkins, Eli (July 27, 2017). "Democratic staffer arrested on bank fraud charge". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  13. ^ Pergram, Chad; Gibson, Jake (July 25, 2017). "Feds arrest IT staffer for Wasserman Schultz trying to leave country". Fox News. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  14. ^ Caygle, Heather; Bresnahan, John (July 25, 2017). "Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country". Politico. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Wasserman Schultz Fires IT Staffer Following Fraud Arrest". Associated Press. July 27, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  16. ^ Gibson, Jake (August 17, 2017). "Wasserman Schultz' ex-IT aide indicted on 4 counts". Fox News. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  17. ^ Bresnahan, John (August 17, 2017). "Charges revised against ex-Wasserman Schultz aide". Politico. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Man, Anthony (August 17, 2017). "Federal grand jury indicts former Wasserman Schultz aide Imran Awan". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Ex-IT aide for Wasserman Schultz pleads not guilty". Fox News. September 1, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 

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