FBI agents suspect somebody in Congress tipped off the Awans that they would be indicted and now the criminal cases once-seemingly isolated to a group of rogue Pakistani IT specialists working for Congress suddenly has gotten much larger. And much more troubling.
Federal agents said preceding his arrest, Imran Awan acted like a man who was recently tipped off that he would be pinched and moreover, it was no coincidence Awan’s wife was whisked out of the country in March after sidestepping the FBI at Dulles International Airport to flee to Pakistan.
“She had cardboard boxes for luggage,” one FBI agent said. “The school didn’t even know she took her kids out.”
Now a faction of FBI veterans believe the couple’s puzzling behavior is explained by even more troubling revelations: Information about the Grand Jury convened to investigate Awan and his wife Hina Alvi for bank fraud and illicit money transfers was likely leaked to the Pakistani couple. Awan and Alvi were both former IT workers hired by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Additionally, Imran and his wife — along with two brothers — performed IT and computer programming work for at least 18 more Democratic lawmakers in Congress. But it was Wasserman, the former chairwoman of the DNC, who kept the pair employed despite the booming criminal case.
Federal agents said it appears more than likely a leak could have originated from any member of Congress linked to the Awan family. Federal law enforcement sources believe officials in Congress were tipped off by a subsequent leak in the Justice Department or the hierarchy of the FBI itself. The Grand Jury convened in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia on Nov. 13, 2016. Within weeks, Awan and his wife started moving money. Lots of it. To Pakistan and parts unknown, federal agents said. By the time Awan and Alvi were indicted on Aug. 17th, they had liquidated well over $2 million in U.S.-backed assets and property, sources and records show. That amount is likely to grow, as agents continue to work the cases.
And as much as $800,000 of that money was liquidated after Awan’s FBI arrest, exactly two weeks before his indictment.