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Democratic IT Staffer Arrested On Fraud Charge Has Family Links To SoCal Lawmakers

LOS ANGELES ( -- Family members of a staffer for the former Democratic National Committee chair who was arrested this week while attempting to leave the U.S. for Pakistan once worked for several Southern California congressional offices.

Imran Awan was fired Tuesday by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the same day he pleaded not guilty to a bank fraud charge in connection with a $165,000 home equity loan, authorities said.

His brother Abid Awan, was employed earlier this year by Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu, Tony Cardenas, and nearly 30 more House Democrats as a "shared employee", according to Legistorm, a website that tracks congressional employment.

March 10 was the most recent end date for Awan's employment under both Lieu and Cardenas, records show.

Lieu made headline in February for releasing a "how to" guide to help members of the Trump administration leak information to the media.

Awan employment record

In his role as a shared employee providing technical support, Imran Awan had also previously worked for former House Democratic Caucus Chairman and current California attorney general Xavier Becerra.

Awan's attorney, Chris Gowen, confirmed that his client was arrested at Dulles Airport on Monday. He says Awan was cleared to travel and had informed the House of his plans to visit his family before the scheduled trip.

Gowen says the federal bank fraud count stems from a "modest real estate matter" and is motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry. He's confident Awan "will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life."

Hina Alvi, the wife of Imran Awan, also worked for Schultz and was fired Feb. 2 by Rep. Karen Bass' office, records show. A second brother, Jamal Awan, was fired by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) on that same day. Records show he was then terminated days later on Feb. 9 by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside).

FBI investigators say bank records show $283,000 was wired to two individuals in Pakistan, and that Awan purchased a flight to Doha, Qatar, and then to Lahore, Pakistan. He purchased a return flight for a date in Jan. 2018.

In an affidavit, FBI Special Agent Brandon Merriman said agents followed Alvi in March to Dulles International Airport and that she was allowed to board a flight. She has not returned. She has a return flight for September 2017, but the agent said that he believes Alvi has no intention of returning to the United States.

An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 21, according to Gowen.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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