This is the Capitol Hill IT aide suspected of stealing congressional data – pictured at home for the first time since he was arrested on bank fraud charges at a Virginia airport while attempting to flee to Pakistan, in an exclusive DailyMail.com photo.
Imran Awan, the former computer administrator who worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and scores of other Democrats, is currently on bail.
He is under a high-intensity supervision program and must wear a monitoring device and stay within 50 miles of his house.
The 37-year-old was spotted looking relaxed in a casual white tee shirt and earbuds, after getting out of a blue Mitsubishi outside his home in northern Virginia.
Imran and his family members – including his wife, who is also indicted – ran IT for at least 60 Democrats in congress over the past decade and for the House Democratic Caucus, giving them access to emails and computer data from an estimated 800 lawmakers and staffers.
Now they are at the center of a probe into what happened to the data they had access to – and one of their relatives told DailyMail.com: ‘For the sake of money they would have done anything.
‘There are possibilities that [Imran] or them might have been selling this information to anybody who is not authorized to have them.’
Charged: Imran Awan was Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s IT aide but now faces years in prison if found guilty of the four charges against her
Employer: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is no stranger to controversy, employed Imran Awan at the same time as her chairmanship of the DNC ended in catastrophe, with leaked emails revealing how she aided Hillary Clinton instead of being neutral. Awan had password access to her phone and iPad
Piles of cash: A police record left on display by Awan shows that he was carrying almost $10,000 in cash when he tried to flee to Pakistan. He had previously wired nearly $300,000 to the country. He was indicted on Thursday
The group was blocked from accessing the House computer network in February, after police began investigating them for potential data and equipment theft, including suspicions that they transferred data to an off-site server.
The investigation has many staffers questioning whether their secrets could have been compromised by the group or even given to outside sources.
Imran was arrested on mortgage fraud charges by the FBI on July 24, while trying to board a flight to Pakistan at Dulles International Airport with just under $10,000 in cash. He had previously wired nearly $300,000 to the country. He was indicted on Thursday.
Imran is now living at the house with his brother, Abid Awan, and sister-in-law Natalia Sova, who also worked as IT aides for congress. They are also under investigation for unauthorized activities on the House network.
Abid, 33, declined to comment on the investigation or his brother’s arrest when asked by DailyMail.com.
He is also facing claims from a relative that he told her he had tapped her phone.
Imran, a naturalized citizen who was born in Faisalabad and raised in the U.S., started working as a computer administrator on Capitol Hill in 2005 after getting hired by Reps. Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
He later helped his wife Hina Alvi; his brothers Abid and Jamal; his friend Rao Abbas; and Abid’s wife Natalia Sova all get IT jobs for members of congress.
It was a lucrative enterprise: public records show that between 2009 and 2017 the Awans took home a total of over $4 million from taxpayers.
They also had access to emails and computer files from Democratic members of Congress and their staffers, including three members of the House Intelligence Committee and five members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
That all ended in February, when Capitol Hill Police opened an investigation into the potential theft of data and banned Imran and his family members from accessing the House network.
Most Democrats terminated the IT workers, but Wasserman Schultz continued to keep Awan and his wife on her payroll for unspecified tasks.
Over the years, Wasserman Schultz has shown an unusual loyalty toward Imran, according to sources on Capitol Hill.
With her support, Imran and his family were hired by over 60 Democratic offices and the House Democratic Caucus, the committee that oversees the party’s congressional leadership.
Fired: Abid Awan and his wife Natalia Sova were also working for Dems but were fired as the investigation emerged
Links: Imran Awan used his social media account to boast of his access to top Democratic figures – and worked for Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a time when she ran the party’s National Committee. It was hacked, allegedly by Russians, producing devastating leaked emails
Imran also had exclusive password access to the iPhone and iPad used by Wasserman Schultz last May while she was running the Democratic National Committee, according to internal emails.
Thousands of these private DNC emails were published by Wikileaks last summer. The DNC and U.S. intelligence agencies believe the emails were stolen by Russian hackers, but Wikileaks claims it received them from an inside leaker.
Wasserman Schultz kept Imran on her payroll after he came under investigation and was barred from accessing the House IT network, only letting him go after his arrest on bank fraud charges in July.
Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi, already absconded to Pakistan in March with the couple’s young children and over $12,000 in cash.
The congresswoman has defended her decision to keep Imran on her staff. She said the Capitol Hill Police computer probe appeared to be motivated by racism against Imran, who is Muslim.
‘When their investigation was reviewed with me, I was presented with no evidence of anything that [the Awans] were being investigated for,’ Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel. ‘And so that in me gave me great concern that [Imran’s] due process rights were being violated. That there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns that I had.’
Capitol Hill Police turned down repeated requests to respond to the racial profiling allegations, or to comment on the investigation. They said the probe is ongoing.
Others who know the Awans disagreed that religion or ethnicity played a role in the investigation.
‘They are not being picked up because they are Muslims. They are being picked up because they did something wrong,’ said Syed Ahmed, who is related to them through their stepmother.
She accused her stepsons of domestic abuse earlier this year.
‘There are possibilities that [Imran] or them might have been selling this information to anybody who is not authorized to have them. For the sake of money they would have done anything,’ he added.
‘They were not living an honest life. They were living like they were gangsters.’
Ahmed said Imran would often travel to Pakistan to tend to his father’s business interests, and would boast about his ties to Pakistani officials and getting an around-the-clock police escort while visiting Faisalabad.
‘He would tell [officials] in Pakistan that he had big connections back in the U.S. and he can do a lot of good for them,’ said Ahmed. ‘The [Pakistani] police were escorting him, providing him protection.’
The Awans’ stepmother, Samina Gilani, told DailyMail.com that Imran and Abid forcibly imprisoned her in her own home in Virginia earlier this year.
She claimed they blocked her from speaking to or visiting her terminally ill husband at Reston Hospital Center for two weeks before his death on Jan. 16.
During this time, she said the Awans pressured their father into giving them his $50,000 life insurance policy.
She also claims her stepsons monitored her private conversations to keep tabs on her.
‘I felt like I was a prisoner,’ said Gilani, speaking in Urdu to the DailyMail.com.
‘They told me they were bugging my telephone calls and had recorded me talking around the house with secret recorders.
‘I didn’t have a cell phone and I wasn’t allowed one. I had to use the landline and I was always scared about what they might do.’
Gilani, who is from Pakistan and does not speak English, called the police on Jan. 5 to report that her ‘step children were denying her access to her husband.’
After police arrived at her home, Abid showed up and ‘was obviously upset with the situation,’ according to the police report.
‘He stated…Samina is causing more stress upon him and the family,’ said the report. ‘He refused to disclose his father’s location. I was further advised that her husband did not want contact with her at this time but was scheduled to return to the house within a week.’
Her husband died at Reston Hospital Center eleven days later. Gilani said her stepsons never allowed her to see him.
She also said Imran and Abid threatened to harm her relatives in Pakistan if she called the police again.
‘Imran Awan threatened that he is very powerful and if I ever call the police again Mr. Shahid Imran Awan will do harm to me and my family members back in Pakistan and one of my cousins here in Baltimore,’ said Gilani, in a statement she filed on Feb. 9 with her late husband’s life insurance company.
Bail conditions: Imran Awan is living with his brother Abid after being charged by the grand jury. An investigation into what possible data theft is continuing
Previous home: Imran Awan and his wife had lived in this house until she fled to Pakistan with cash. It is this address they are accused of having used for the alleged bank fraud both are indicted on
‘Imran Awan threatened that he has power to kidnap my family members back in Pakistan,’ she added. ‘Imran Awan did admit to me that my phone is tapped and there are devices installed in the house to listen to all my conversations.’
While employed in congress, Imran and Abid also ran a used car dealership called Cars International A, which they did not list in their financial disclosure reports.
The company was mired in financial problems, and faced lawsuits from car customers who claimed they were sold duds.
Business associates at the dealership described Imran’s younger brother Abid – who worked for Reps. Gregory Meeks and Ron Barber – as a flashy dresser who always seemed to have money and would drop thousands of dollars at DC nightclubs.
‘When he would go to DC, [Abid] would spend $3,000 or $4,000 a night,’ said Ajmad Khan, a former business partner. ‘Abid would say, I work for the government, I don’t care. I have a $120,000 job and my wife is working, my brother’s working, this one’s working, that one’s working.’
Abid married a blonde Russian-speaking woman named Natalia Sova, who another former business partner described as ‘a good looking young Russian girl.’
Who they worked for: Robert Wexler (left) hired Awan in 2005. He held Florida’s 19th district from 1997 to 2010. Among the Democrats he and his family also came to provide IT services for were Gregory Meeks, who has represented New York’s 5th district since 1998.
Sova later obtained IT jobs working for Reps. Ted Deutch, Emanuel Cleaver, and other members.
Associates said Cars International A was mismanaged and faced serious money troubles. By 2012, the brothers decided to accept an outside loan of $100,000 from a man named Dr. Ali al-Attar, a Virginia doctor and Iraqi political figure.
The doctor was born in Iraq to Iranian parents, had been educated in Beirut, and was revealed in 2013 to have been a significant figure in the lobbying by expatriate Iraqis for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein which led to the Iraq War.
By 2012, he had in fact fled the United States after being suspended from practicing medicine and charged with tax fraud. At the time, the federal government was also suing al-Attar to recover over $800,000 in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing.
Al-Attar’s $100,000 loan to the Awan brothers was arranged through a third party investor, Nasir Khattak.
But the car dealership continued to lose money and the Awan brothers ended up defaulting on the loan. Abid also filed for bankruptcy in 2012, claiming over $1 million in debts. Financial records show he earned a six-figure salary from congress that year.
Another business partner at the dealership said Abid rarely seemed to go into work on the Hill and spent most of his time working on the car business.
‘[Abid] would just go in [to the Hill] a couple times a week for a couple of hours, just to show his face. In paper I think [Abid and Imran] were both working, but in reality only one was working the other was running the [car] business,’ said the former business partner.
The car dealership wasn’t their only side-business. Imran also moonlighted as a real estate agent, acting as a broker in at least four home sales since 2011, according to the real estate tracking website HomeLight.com.
Watchdog groups said the fact that the Awans did not disclose these outside jobs in their financial disclosure reports raises questions about whether they were hiding other sources of money.
‘When there are such extensive and longstanding violations of disclosure laws, it usually means there is an attempt to cover up underlying criminality or improper activity,’ said Tom Anderson, the director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center.
Imran and his wife Hina Alvi were indicted on four charges related to mortgage fraud on Thursday.
They were charged with making false statements on a loan application, unlawful monetary transactions, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Hina Alvi has been in Pakistan with the couple’s children since March, and federal authorities said they do not expect her to return to the United States.
The FBI said Imran and his wife made false statements to obtain a $165,000 home equity loan from the congressional credit union in January.
Days after receiving the loan, they wired nearly $300,000 to two individuals in Pakistan, according to the FBI affidavit.
Imran initially told the credit union that the purpose of the wire transfer was ‘funeral arrangements.’ When told this was not a valid reason, he allegedly said the money was for ‘buying property.’