Rep. Ron DeSantis called on the Justice Department on Thursday to take a deeper look at the finances of a former staffer of fellow Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his arrest on a bank fraud charge.
“The allegations levied against Imran Awan are alarming and could have serious national security ramifications,” DeSantis, a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, wrote in a news release accompanying his letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The Department of Justice must work to immediately mitigate the damage done by Awan and take whatever measures are necessary, including freezing illicit funds, in order to fully investigate this incident,” DeSantis wrote.
Hours later, Wasserman Schultz defended her actions surrounding Awan, saying she resisted terminating him out of her concerns for due process.
Awan is accused of attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by obtaining a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which is against the credit union’s policies since it is not the owner’s primary residence. Investigators say those funds were then included as part of a $283,000 wire transfer to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
In his letter, DeSantis asks whether DOJ is bringing in the Treasury Department’s financial crimes bureau to help look at Awan’s finances for evidence of other crimes, and whether any U.S. banks tipped off the feds regarding any suspicious activity with accounts held by Awan or his wife.
Meanwhile, Awan’s attorneys filed a motion Wednesday seeking the return of roughly $9,000 he said Capitol police took from him when he was arrested July 24 as he attempted to leave the United States for Pakistan, where his wife had previously moved.
Awan has also been at the center of a criminal investigation on Capitol Hill for months for allegedly pilfering House computer equipment.
DeSantis wants to make sure DOJ is investigating whether any money made from selling the allegedly stolen equipment was included in the wire transfer to Pakistan. He asks whether DOJ lawyers will seek a court order freezing any proceeds Awan made from selling the equipment or any real estate transactions.
“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,” DeSantis wrote.
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SOURCE: Politico, Daniel Ducassi and Marc Caputo