A House IT staffer, who was at the center of a congressional computer equipment scandal, has been arrested by federal officials and charged with bank fraud.
Reports say officers and agents from the U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and Customs and Border Protection were involved in the arrest of Imran Awan at Dulles International Airport.
Awan, 37, of Virginia, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of bank fraud during his arraignment in federal court in Washington, D.C. Although he was released, will have to wear a GPS monitor and abide by a curfew.
In addition, Awan was ordered to turn over all his passports. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.
For months, authorities have been looking into how Awan may have double-billed the House for equipment like computers, iPads, monitors, keyboards and routers. Awan has several relatives that have worked for House Democrats, but were fired months ago. Awan, however, was kept on staff by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., even though he was no longer allowed access to the House server network.
Wasserman Schultz, has now fired Awan. Spokesman David Damron said Tuesday in a statement:
“Mr. Awan previously served as a part-time employee but his services have been terminated. No charges, evidence or findings from the investigation have been formally shared with our office, so we cannot comment on them.”
Authorities also have looked into IT workers putting sensitive House information on the “cloud” and potentially exposing it to outside sources.
Federal officials arrested Awan at Dulles airport in suburban Virginia as he was “trying to leave the country.”
The criminal complaint and affidavit said he had bought a ticket to fly Monday to Doha, Qatar, and then Lahore, Pakistan, with a return flight booked for early January. The affidavit specifically accused Awan of taking part in a plan to defraud a Congressional Federal Credit Union. It did not appear to go in depth into the other matters investigators have been looking into.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, recently began negotiating with Capitol Police for access to her laptop in the case. Until this point, she had resisted USCP efforts to look at her computer and even suggested “consequences” for the agency if the computer was not quickly returned.
Awan and his relatives worked for House Democrats for more than a decade, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Awan declared bankruptcy in 2012.