Lawyer for Dem Staffer Arrested While Trying to Flee America Blames Islamophobia

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Lawyer for Dem Staffer Arrested While Trying to Flee America Blames Islamophobia

Imran Awan, an IT staffer at the U.S. congressional computer equipment center who was working for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman, was arrested at Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport while trying to flee the country, media reported.

According to Fox News' Chad Pergram, federal agents and the U.S. Capitol Police arrested Awan and charged him with "multiple counts of bank fraud" stemming from the investigation of an information technology procurement scandal in the U.S. House.

Awan was released under a "high-intensity supervision program", Politico reports, and in the program, he must wear a Global Positioning System monitor and keep to a curfew of 10 p.m.to 6 a.m. "Awan was also ordered to turn over all of his passports". The officials suspect the four of "accessing members' computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress".

An affidavit from Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brandon Merriman said Alvi had "numerous pieces of luggage" and more than $12,000 in cash with her, according to Politico. He is accused of double-charging the House of Representatives for IT equipment, and possibly for exposing sensitive House information online. His wife had already fled to Pakistan, but while police did not prevent her from boarding her plane, she reportedly had $12,000 in cash.

Awan has worked for various members of the House since 2004.

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. A Marine corps veteran and his Navy Officer wife now occupy the home and he discovered "wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner".

Awan has been in the news this week after reports by WorldTribune.com and the Daily Caller Foundation that he repeatedly tried to get back smashed hard drives that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Imran has been under a criminal investigation for equipment and data theft for several months.

In March, a group of House Democrats fired Awan and one other staffer over their alleged involvement in the scheme and the looming criminal investigation. It looks like government-issued equipment.

For months, Wasserman Schultz refused to allow U.S. Capitol Police to have access to her laptop as part of the investigation. "We turned that stuff over".

Awan's attorney told CBS News that his client was told he was cleared for flying and blamed "anti-Muslim bigotry" for the attacks on him.

Wasserman Schultz's spokesman, David Damron, did not immediately return a request for comment. She got around the ban by designating Awan as an "advisor".

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