The criminal probe into a cadre of Capitol Hill techies who worked for dozens of Democratic lawmakers remains shrouded in mystery, months after their access to congressional IT systems was suspended.
It’s still not clear whether the investigation by the Capitol Police into the five staffers, who all have links to Pakistan, involves the theft of classified information.
The staffers are accused of stealing equipment and possible breaches of the House IT network, according to Politico, which first reported on the investigation in February.
A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police refused comment last week in what she described as an ongoing investigation.
And now, at least one of the staffers, Hina Alvi, has fled to Pakistan, according to The Daily Caller.
Alvi, 33, who was based in Virginia, worked for Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) since 2008, making $126,225 last year, according to public records.
Her husband, Imran Awan, 37, also worked for Meeks in the past. In addition to his wife, Awan put forward his brothers Jamal, 23 and Abid, 33, to work in IT operations on Capitol Hill. He also recommended Rao Abbas, 37. The group worked for 25 members of Congress at different times since 2004, public records show.
In the midst of the criminal probe, Imran and Abid Awan are now being accused of more wrongdoing, this time by a member of their own family. Last month, their stepmother accused them of threatening her in order to force her to sign a power of attorney to gain access to assets in Pakistan.
In court papers filed in Fairfax County, Samina Gilani alleges her stepsons of wiretapping her phones, threatening to kidnap family members in Pakistan, and preventing her from seeing her dying husband in a Virginia hospital unless she granted them power of attorney. She also accused them of trying to remove her as the beneficiary of her husband’s $50,000 life-insurance policy. Her husband, Mohammad Ashref Shah, died in January, and the insurance payout is being disputed in court.
And in a recent twist in the criminal probe, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) demanded that Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa return equipment belonging to her office that was seized as part of the investigation — or face “consequences.”