Chiefs of staff for dozens of Democratic lawmakers who employed the four were informed last week that a criminal probe was underway into their use of congressional information technology systems, including the existence of an external server to which House data was being funneled, and into the theft of and overbilling for computer equipment.
Brothers Imran, Abid, and Jamal Awan and Hina Alvi, Imran’s wife, each made $160,000 a year as information technology workers for the House. Their salaries and time were shared among dozens of Democratic members, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The lawmakers also include members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Despite the generous salaries, the four were involved in multiple suspicious mortgage transfers and a debt-evading bankruptcy. Abid had more than $1 million in debts following a failed business called Cars International that he ran in Falls Church, Va., from November 2009 to September 2010. Business associates said in court documents that Abid had stolen money and vehicles from them.
It’s unclear how Abid found time to run an automotive business while working full-time for Congress. He had been on the congressional payroll since 2005. A congressional credit union repossessed two of his personal cars before the business folded.