Debbie Wasserman Shultz Aide Arrested Trying to Flee Country to Pakistan
An aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., has been arrested for attempting to flee the country and charged with bank fraud, officials said.
Imran Awan, 37, was arrested on Monday by FBI agents and U.S. Capitol Police at Dulles International Airport trying to fly to Lahore, Pakistan.
Awan was arraigned in U.S. District Court on Tuesday with one count of bank fraud, a federal offense, and he pleaded not guilty.
Officials said Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, defrauded the Congressional Federal Credit Union for $165,000 by lying on a home equity loan application, according to federal court documents.
Awan's wife initiated a $283,000 wire transfer in January 2017 through the credit union to Faisalabad, Pakistan, which included the $165,000 loan, according to court documents.
His wife and their three children left the country in March with $12,700 cash from Dulles International Airport to Lahore, according to court documents.
Officials said they do not believe that his wife plans to return to the U.S.
Awan was released after his arraignment and is under a "high-intensity supervision program," said Bill Miller, a U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman.
Awan received a GPS monitor and has a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. He also must remain in a 50-mile radius of his Virginia residence. Awan was also ordered to turn over all of his passports.
A hearing is slated for August 21.
Awan’s lawyer, Christopher Gowen, said the charges are politically-motivated and "began as part of a frenzy of anti-Muslim bigotry in the literal heart of our democracy, the House of Representatives."
There is also speculation on Awan's potential ties to Pakistani intelligence and reviewed concern over him being a potential mole. Pakistan is a notorious sponsor of terrorism and one of the most corrupt countries on earth according to Transparency International.