A federal grand jury Thursday indicted two former information technology (IT) aides of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — Pakistani-born Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi — on four counts of conspiracy in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The FBI arrested Awan at Dulles International Airport July 24 as he was preparing to board a flight to Pakistan. When his wife Alvi left the U.S. for Pakistan in March, federal authorities found more than $12,000 in cash hidden in a suitcase. She had withdrawn the couple’s three children from local schools and does not intend to return to the U.S., according to the FBI.
“Defendants AWAN and ALVI did unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly conspire, combine, confederate, and agree with each other to commit offenses against the United States,” including bank fraud, false statements, and unlawful monetary transactions, the indictment said.
An arraignment date has not yet been set, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s question about when Hina Alvi would become a fugitive if she does not return to the U.S. voluntarily, or whether officials would seek to extradite her from Pakistan.
In addition to lying on multiple mortgage disclosures, as an affidavit alleged at the time of Imran’s arrest, the indictment claims Hina lied by claiming medical hardship in order to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars from a retirement program.
The Awans, three of their relatives and a close friend are the targets of an FBI and U.S. Capitol Police criminal investigation into allegations they committed congressional cybersecurity violations and large-scale theft of congressional property in a scheme that may have begun more than a decade ago.
The crew worked as shared IT aides for dozens of House Democrats, including many who were members of the intelligence, foreign affairs and homeland security committees. Most of the Democrats fired them when the Capitol Police investigation became public in February, and their access to the congressional IT system was terminated.
However, Wasserman Schultz kept Alvi on her payroll until March and Awan until the day after his arrest. Authorities arrested Awan on the bank fraud charges in order to take his passport and prevent his leaving the U.S. as the investigation into their Capitol Hill activities continues.
Awan retained Chris Gowen, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to represent him shortly after his arrest.