An IT specialist formerly employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who is now at the center of a loan fraud conspiracy, suspected of pilfering computer equipment and transferring copious amount of data from a House server wiped his iPhone of data shortly before his arrest at Dulles Airport in July.
Imran Awan was waiting to board a flight to Pakistan to join his wife, an alleged co-conspirator in the fraud plot, who had traveled to the country months earlier, when FBI agents nabbed him. At a hearing Friday, according to Forbes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mirando told the court that the phone “had been wiped clean just a few hours before” Awan's arrest in rebuttal to claims by the IT pro's attorney that “Awan had recently bought the phone, so of course it didn't have any data on it.”
Awan, who had worked for more than 24 Democratic members of Congress over a 13-year period, stands accused of filing illegally for a home equity loan on rental property, which violates the Congressional Federal Credit Union rules. It was only after Awan was arrested at the airport that Wasserman Schultz fired him – other members of Congress had fired him in February when the probe was revealed and Awan's access to the House IT system was yanked. Wasserman Schultz has come under heavy criticism for keeping Awan onboard, raising the hackles of ethics watchdog groups and other critics.
“For several months, Wasserman Schultz refused to remove Awan from house payroll even though he was barred from the House computer system which would presumably prevent him from performing any reasonable IT work,” Matthew G. Whitaker, executive director wrote of the right-leaning Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) wrote in a letter last summer to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) Chairman Doc Hastings, calling it “contrary to the House Ethics Rules for Waserman Schultz to continue to pay Awan with taxpayer funds even after he was barred from the House computer system and could not perform his duties, and was also under criminal investigation.”