News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Criminal probe of Awan brothers underway. Abid Awan, on Congressional payroll since 2005, two of his brothers and wife of one worked at highly sensitive levels at House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Brothers accessed House members' computer networks without their knowledge, possibly funneled House data to external server. Abid had criminal record, per court documents-Daily Caller, Politico


2/7/17, "Congress IT Probe Suspects Had Massive Debts, Years Of Suspicious Activity," Daily Caller, Luke Rosiak

"Four people who worked for the House of Representatives have a history of massive debts and bankruptcy, a fondness for fast cars and real estate, and unusually complicated webs of intertwined finances.

The three brothers and a wife of one of them are under criminal investigation into sensitive congressional information security.

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.

A vendor who supplied Abid’s business with cars said that he had not paid for the vehicles and wouldn’t return them, either. “The consignment agreements state it clearly that either Mr. Awan sells the cars for the agreed price no less $62,200 or return my cars back,” he wrote.

On a car record showing the title had been released to Abid, the vendor said “this is no authorise [sic] also I have no information about this car bought by defendant under my company business buy and sale no authorise [sic].”

Abid filed for bankruptcy in 2012, but somehow managed to keep ownership of two houses while telling the bankruptcy court and creditors that he had no assets with which to pay them. He signed a sworn statement that he and his wife, Natalia Soba, were living apart and needed separate residences.

“My spouse and I are legally separated under applicable non-bankruptcy law or my spouse and I are living apart other than for the purpose of evading the requirements of § 707(b)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code,” Abid claimed in bankruptcy documents. But both houses had been in the family for years. 

Multiple small businesses and individuals went unpaid as a result of the 2012 bankruptcy. Abid also had an unpaid line of credit of $10,000 with the congressional credit union at the time of bankruptcy. 

Abid’s record includes numerous driving- and alcohol-related legal problems, including driving with a suspended or revoked license, court records show. He was found guilty of drunk driving a month before he started at the House, and was arrested for public intoxication a month after his first day.

Cars were a family passion, and Imran has also been convicted of driving offenses serious enough to rise to the level of criminal misdemeanors, as well as using an illegal radar detector and driving an unregistered vehicle.

But unusual real estate deals were the more notable bond among the four.

Hina Alvi, Imran’s wife, bought two homes in Lorton in 2008, including one that all the brothers have been associated with at one time. In November 2016, Alvi sold that home to the youngest brother, Jamal, who is only 22 years of age, for $620,000. The criminal investigation began in late 2016.

The transaction capitalized on increasing Washington, D.C., real estate appraisals, netting her $150,000, while almost all the cost was incurred to the bank; Jamal put almost no money down.
Alvi’s husband, Imran, also owned a house in Springfield, which he put in his father’s name in 2008. Abid later claimed in bankruptcy that the house was his.

A spokesman for Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas told TheDCNF Friday that Jamal’s “employment with our office has been terminated.”

Hilarie Chambers, a spokeswoman for Rep. Sandy Levin — who employed Abid — told TheDCNF that “after being notified by the House Administration Committee, this individual was removed from our payroll. We are confident that everything in our office is secure.”

But some Democrats have not terminated their connection with the four, including Wasserman Schultz, who employs Imran and who resigned from her DNC post last year after a computer hack revealed embarassing emails. Derrick Robinson, spokesman for California Rep. Karen Bass, refused to comment on Alvi’s employment status.

Jack Langer, spokesman for the intelligence committee, said the committee office has its own IT staff and security measures and classified information from the panel is not allowed to be sent to members’ personal offices.

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group was the first media outlet to name the four."

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Added, 2/4/17 Daily Caller article 

"The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members' computer networks without their knowledge."

2/4/17, "EXCLUSIVE: House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members Compromised By Rogue IT Staff," Daily Caller, Luke Rosiak

"Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.

Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.

Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who...served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members' computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress. Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.

“As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.

Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.

Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Both are members of the intelligence committee, and their spokesmen did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman Schultz.

Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, employed Abid for IT work in 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, 2016. Abid has a prior criminal record and a bankruptcy.
Abid also worked for Rep. Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is member of the foreign affairs committee. 

The three men are “shared employees,” meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and use them as needed for IT services. It is up to each member to fire them.

A criminal investigation into five unnamed people began late last year related to serious and potentially illegal violations of House IT policies, Politico reported Thursday. Chiefs of staff for the members were briefed Thursday by the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the investigation was still ongoing, and arrests have not been made but staff were “asked to update their security settings.

Buzzfeed reported that the Sergeant-at-Arms told staff that the subjects were four men who were brothers and one woman. It did not name them. It quoted one of the affected members as saying “they said it was some sort of procurement scam, but now I’m concerned that they may have stolen data from us, emails, who knows.”

Jamal did not return a request for comment from TheDCNF at a personal email address, while emails to House addresses in the three men’s names bounced back Friday. 

Abid, Imran and Jamal have all shared a house in Lorton, Virginia, that is owned by Hina R. Alvi. Alvi is a female House IT employee who works for many of the same members as the three brothers, as well as the House Democratic Caucus.

Signs of trouble have long been visible in public records. The Congressional Credit Union repossessed Abid’s car in 2009, and he declared bankruptcy in 2012, facing multiple lawsuits. Alvi, who did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment, has taken multiple second mortgages.


Jack Langer, spokesman for the intelligence committee, said the committee office has its own IT staff and security measures and classified information from the panel is not allowed to be sent to members’ personal offices."

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Added, 2/2/17 Politico article


Access to the House network was terminated for the five employees — four men and a woman — on Thursday afternoon, but it’s up to individual lawmakers to fire the staffers in question, according to a senior House official. The official said most members are proceeding with termination.

The staffers have not been arrested.

All lawmakers targeted by the alleged scam were victims and had no idea what crimes might have been committed by their employees, House sources said. 

The identities of the staffers are still unknown, but the official said they are shared House employees, meaning they work for multiple members, not contractors....

More than 20 members were victimized by the alleged procurement scam and chiefs of staff for the lawmakers were briefed on the matter Thursday.

A source in the briefing said the Sergeant-at-Arms confirmed the U.S. Capitol Police is conducting an active criminal investigation but said no arrests have been made. The source said the FBI is not involved in the investigation.

U.S. Capitol Police would not comment on the investigation but noted that House staff affected have been alerted to update their security systems....

The employees allegedly stole equipment from members' offices without their knowledge and committed serious, potentially illegal, violations of House IT policies.

House sources stressed the investigation, which has been ongoing since late 2016, is focused on equipment theft and not a network hacking issue."


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Comment: Useless Crony Republican Devin Nunes joined the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2011, became committee chairman in 2015.










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