Democratic aide arrested; attorney calls case 'right wing media-driven'

U.S. Capitol Hill Police officers stand guard on the East side of the U.S. Capitol before U.S. President Barack Obama makes his sixth State of the Union address inside the House Chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington

A longtime IT staffer for Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former leader of the Democratic National Committee, was arrested Monday while allegedly trying to flee the country and charged with bank fraud, the latest development in an increasingly odd story.

37-year-old Imran Awan, an IT staffer for Schultz, had been under investigation for bank fraud.

According to the story, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents "seized smashed computers and hard drives" from the lawmaker's home.

American federal agencies arrested Florida Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz's top information technology (IT) aide for trying to board a Pakistan bound flight after he transferred United States dollars 283,000 to Islamabad.

Awan remained employed by Wasserman Schultz as a technology adviser until Tuesday although he had been prohibited from accessing the House network for about six months, according to Politico. "Alvi had "numerous pieces of luggage" and more than $12,000 in cash, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brandon Merriman wrote in the affidavit", the Politico reported.

GAYLE KING: Politico reports a former aide to Congresswoman Deborah Wassermann Schultz was arrested trying to leave the country.

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The five.employees worked for at least three members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis.

Wasserman Schultz, though, has now fired Awan. Until this point, she had resisted USCP efforts to look at her computer - even suggesting "consequences" for the agency if the computer was not promptly returned. Gowen said most offices ended their relationship with Awan, but that Wasserman Schultz's office continued to keep him on the payroll until the day of the arrest.

The Hill is reporting Awan and his family worked for House Democrats for years making millions before the scandal erupted.

Investigators said Awan may have double-billed the House for computers, iPads, monitors, keyboards, routers and other devices, Fox 5 said.

"He was terminated as soon as we learned about the allegations of wrongdoing", said Joyce Jones, the spokeswoman for Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who paid Awan $1,166 for work in 2017.

Awan pled not guilty and was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program which requires him to use a Global Positioning System monitor, abide by a curfew and not leave a 50-mile radius of his home.


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