News & Politics

Imran Awan, Former IT Aide to Congressional Democrats, Gets Slap on the Wrist in Plea Deal

Imran Awan, the Pakistani former IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other Congressional Democrats, pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank fraud in a plea deal that amounts to a slap on the wrist. Prosecutors claimed they investigated allegations of improper cyber activity, and “uncovered no evidence” that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”

According to the Daily Caller, only one person sat at the prosecutors’ table:

J.P. Coomey, who unsuccessfully prosecuted New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez for corruption and was only added to the case Monday. There was no sign of Michael Marando, who had previously led the prosecution.

Coomey said he would not prosecute Imran Awan for any crimes on Capitol Hill in the plea agreement.

“Particularly, the government has found no evidence that your client illegally removed House data from the House network or from House Members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus Server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information, including classified or sensitive information,” the prosecution stated in the plea deal.

Imran Awan pleaded guilty only to making a false statement on a loan application.

Prosecutors also dropped fraud charges against his wife, Hina Alvi Awan.

The case was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Last August, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy noted the “bizarre” indictment of the Pakistani IT scammers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was at the time led by “Channing D. Phillips, an Obama holdover who was never confirmed.” Jessie Liu, who was nominated by President Trump in June of 2017, took over last September:

Steven Wasserman, Representative Wasserman Schultz’s brother, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the office for many years. I have seen no indication that he has any formal role in the case, notwithstanding some cyberspace speculation to the contrary. What is clear, however, is that the office is low-keying the Awan prosecution.

The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.

More bizarre still: There is not a word about Alvi’s flight to Pakistan, nor Imran Awan’s failed attempt to follow her there. This is not an oversight. The omission appears quite intentional.

Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller reported Monday that on Feb. 3, 2017, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote a secret memo marked “URGENT” detailing how the House Democratic Caucus’s server went “missing” right after it became evidence in the cybersecurity probe.

The secret memo stated that “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.” Irving and Kiko wrote: “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

According to Rosiak, Wasserman Schultz at the time cornered Kiko and called him a “f*cking Islamophobe,” saying “you will not so much as take away their parking spots.”

Rosiak pointed out that their letter “bolsters TheDCNF’s previous reporting about the missing server and evidence of fraud on Capitol Hill.”

One of the allegations against Imran Awan is that he fraudulently purchased items like iPhones, iPads, etc. — ostensibly for Congress — as gifts or bribes to cronies in Pakistan, including Pakistani intelligence agents and police.

Now, mainstream outlets like the Washington Post (which refused to talk to a Democratic whistleblower regarding the case) are calling those reports “conspiracy theories.”

https://twitter.com/lukerosiak/status/1014208447452151808

“There were clearly dozens of fraudulent purchase orders,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed last month on the House floor.

Although prosecutors now say the government conducted a “thorough investigation of those allegations,” Gohmert alleged last month that they refused to examine all of the evidence.

“The FBI has had opportunities to have those invoices presented to them, and each time they have instructed, ‘don’t bring any of those documents — we don’t want to see any of that — we just want to talk to you.'”

The congressman complained that the FBI was continuing to report that they’d found no evidence of anything other than a false statement on a loan.

“Why? Because they’ve instructed — ‘we don’t want to see the documents that prove those cases.’ They’re readily available for anybody — any federal office who wants to see them. But they don’t want to see them,” Gohmert lamented. “So they can keep reporting to the new U.S. attorney that there’s no evidence — no evidence. Nah —  there’s just nothing there. They can tell the attorney general, ‘yeah, we’ve looked into it, there’s nothing there.'”

Gohmert also noted that according to Luke Rosiak’s reporting, between 70 and 80 percent of the witnesses who have information about the Awan brothers’ crimes have never been interviewed by the FBI.

According to Rosiak, “the Caucus server — identified as prime evidence in the cybersecurity case — physically disappeared” shortly after the IG report came out in September 2016.

“The FBI has no interest whatsoever — at least so far” in investigating what happened to the server on which Awan put data of about 40+ members of Congress, Gohmert said. “This is really tragic.”

Fox News reported: “[T]he government interviewed 40 witnesses, took custody of the House Democratic Caucus server and other devices, reviewed electronic communications between House employees and questioned Awan during multiple voluntary interviews, the plea deal said”:

Awan worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and other Democrats. He admitted in the plea deal to working to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union in December 2016 by giving false information about a property.

Under federal sentencing guidelines for the fraud charge, Awan faces up to six months of incarceration.

Awan’s attorney, Christopher J. Gowen, said in court Tuesday they are seeking a probation-only sentence without a fine or restitution. A sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 21.

Chutkan on Tuesday granted the defense’s request to remove Awan’s court-mandated electronic tracking device, but kept in place a limit Awan traveling beyond 150 miles from his residence.

A grand jury in August first returned an indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Awan and his wife with federal bank fraud.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

President Trump has expressed interest in the case on Twitter, referring to Awan as “the Pakistani mystery man.” The president also mentioned Awan in a New York Times story last year, saying: “Whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC?”

Since last November, a judge has postponed Awan’s court hearing in U.S. District Court six times at the request of the prosecution and defense.

Wasserman Schultz, who kept Awan on until his arrest last July, blamed the “right-wing media circus fringe” for the attention on the Awan clan’s alleged misdeeds.

Rosiak has posted over 60 stories on the Awan Brothers scandal.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton gave a good synopsis of the Awan Brothers IT scandal during a panel discussion last October: