A congressional information technology staffer was arrested Monday evening before a scheduled flight for Lahore, Pakistan, and charged with bank fraud in connection with a $165,000 loan from the congressional Federal Credit Union, authorities said.
Imran Awan, 37, pleaded not guilty Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in Washington and was released to a high-intensity supervision program whose conditions include GPS monitoring, a nighttime curfew and staying within a 50-mile radius of his home in Lorton, federal prosecutors said. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport, his attorney said.
Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, allegedly secured a $165,000 home equity loan in January from CFCU on a house in Alexandria after claiming it was their primary residence, when it was a rental property, FBI Special Agent Brandon C. Merriman wrote in an affidavit for Awan’s arrest. The couple told the credit union to wire the money to Pakistan for use in purchasing a property, Merriman wrote.
Alvi, also a former House IT worker, and the couple’s three school-aged children, were approached by federal agents but allowed to board a flight to Lahore on March 5 Merriman wrote, but he said that he “does not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.”
Awan’s attorney, Chris Gowen, said in a statement, “Because we are confident in the integrity of the U.S. justice system, we are confident that Mr. Awan will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life. Neither Mr. Awan nor his wife have ever had any intention to ‘flee’ the United States.”
“They are U.S. citizens who have built a full life and have a strong community life in this country. They will stand and fight whatever charges are presented,” Gowen said. The couple had round trip tickets, and Awan had informed the government of his plans to travel, Gowen said.
Awan had worked for the House since 2004 as a shared employee, getting paid about $165,000 per year from about a dozen Democratic members in 2015 and 2016, for example, according to Legistorm. Most payments ended by early February, the congressional data tracking service reported.
Awan worked most recently for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), before he was fired Tuesday, her spokesman said.
“Mr. Awan previously served as an employee in our office, but his services have been terminated,” David Damron said.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office of the District and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police declined to comment, citing the pending case.