Federal authorities have apprehended a House IT staffer at the center of a Capitol Hill computer scandal.
Fox News reports that Amran Awan, an IT staffer on the payroll of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was picked up at Virginia's Dulles Airport by the FBI and Capitol Hill police while "trying to leave the country." The Pakistani-born staffer, who once ran IT services for numerous members of the House Democratic caucus including Schultz, was reportedly detained on charges of Bank Fraud.
The apprehension was first reported on Tuesday evening by Fox News' Chad Pergram:
Feds/USCP picked up Imran Awan at Dulles Aiport last night as he was "trying to leave the country." Has been arraigned. Surrendered passport— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017
Feds/USCP bust Hse IT staffer Imran Awan & charge him with multiple counts of bank fraud as part of Hse IT procurement scandal— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017
Awan had been at center of scandal where he allegedly double charged Hse for IT equipment & may have exposed Hse info online— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 25, 2017
Awan was attempting to board a plane to Lahore, Pakistan at the time of his apprehension. According to The Daily Caller, the IT aide had wired $283,000 to that country just prior to his arrest.
Fox reports that the 37 year old Awan pleaded not guilty to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in federal court in Washington, D.C. Awan will now have to wear a GPS monitor and abide by a court-ordered curfew.
According to Politico, authorities have accused Awan of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, a violation of the credit union’s policies since it is not the owner's primary residence. The fraudulently obtained funds were then included as part of a wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Although reports of the probe into Awan's activities have been circulating since February, the staffer had been kept on the payroll of Debbie Wasserman Schultz until Tuesday, despite the fact that he had been barred from accessing the House server network. Shortly after his apprehension, the Florida Congresswoman's office announced that they would be terminating his employment.
"Mr. Awan previously served as a part-time employee but his services have been terminated," Wasserman Schultz' spokesman David Damron said in a statement. "No charges, evidence or findings from the investigation have been formally shared with our office, so we cannot comment on them."
Amran Awan, along several members of his family including two brothers and their spouses, is at the center of a growing scandal involving activities they engaged in while employed as IT staffers for several members of the House Democratic caucus.
As we reporter earlier in the week, the FBI had seized smashed hard drives from the home of Awan, according to reporting by The Daily Caller. The seizure was part of an ongoing criminal probe by Capitol Police and the FBI into "serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network".
According to The Daily Caller, Capitol Police, who are also part of the investigation, have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
The Awan group began running IT operations for Wasserman Schultz and a number of her Housecolleagues beginning in 2005. The group has been paid upward of $4 million for their services since 2009.
According to fellow IT staffers, the Awans were payed for no-show jobs, and were transferring data from House computers to an off-site server; an act which was likely a major breach of security.
The Awan family has been evasive since the probe was revealed in February, having abruptly moved out of their Virginia home, which is now being rented out.
According to the new tenant, the Awans left behind government issued computer equipment and appear to have "left in a huge hurry."