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U.S. Rep. DeSantis asks DOJ to investigate fired Wasserman Schultz IT worker

DeSantisTBT

@amysherman

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the former information technology worker fired by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Desantis asks for an investigation into the financial records of Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi to search for other potential crimes or suspicious activity.

"While we can never tolerate breaches of the public trust, the wire transfer to Pakistan is particularly alarming as Pakistan is home to numerous terrorist organizations," he wrote.

The criminal complaint charging Awan for bank fraud makes no mention of terrorism. 

The federal complaint states that Awan and Alvi raudulently obtained a $165,000 home loan from a credit union. Alvi submitted paperwork in January to wire $283,000 to Pakistan including the money from the loan. When a representative from the credit union called Alvi, a male answering the phone initially said the money was for "funeral arrangements" but later said it was to purchase property.

Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport headed to Pakistan July 24. His wife flew to Pakistan in March.

DeSantis, a Republican from Ponte Vedra Beach, serves on the judiciary committee. His letter to Sessions, and calls for Wasserman Schultz to testify about the case, allows DeSantis to draw attention to himself while he considers a bid for Florida governor in 2018. DeSantis made terrorism a central issue of his short campaign for U.S. Senate in 2016 -- he dropped out when Rubio got back in.

News reports starting in February indicated that Awan was under investigation for equipment and data theft, but the federal charge for bank fraud makes no mention of such an investigation. Awan was a shared employee of many Democratic House members who fired him after the news reports about the investigation, but Wasserman Schultz waited until he was arrested to fire him.

“After details of the investigation were reviewed with us, my office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken, which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling,” she previously said. “Upon learning of his arrest, he was terminated.”

Wasserman Schultz's spokesman David Damron declined to comment on the letter by DeSantis.

Awan has pleaded not guilty and awaits a preliminary hearing in Washington D.C. Aug. 21. His attorney filed a motion Wednesday asking the government to return $9,000 in cash seized from Awan by law enforcement when he was arrested. The motion states that Awan needs the money to pay for his defense.

 

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