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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Defends Decision to keep Staffer Charged with Bank Fraud

August 23rd 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., defended her decision to keep IT staffer Imran Awan on government payroll after she discovered he was under investigation for bank fraud.

Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were indicted last week by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with a total of four charges.

"He's not my staffer. He no longer works for me. And when he was arrested, I terminated him," Wasserman Schultz said during a briefing Tuesday according to the Sun-Sentinel. "I kept him on the payroll during the time that he was not arrested and not charged with anything. And that was because, as I said, that I was concerned about the violation of his due process rights and also that there were racial and ethnic profiling concerns as well."

Wasserman Schultz said she didn't know Awan was attempting to send money to Pakistan.

"I don't know anything about his personal finances, and so it's not something that I am really able to comment on," the lawmaker said.

Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport last month as he was attempting to flee the country and meet his wife in Qatar.

Wasserman Schultz reportedly said she wasn't surprised that Awan's wife Alvi had traveled to Pakistan. "I wasn't surprised at the time, because they were being persecuted. Their children were being bullied at school. And they were experiencing the things that I was concerned about in terms of racial, ethnic and religious profiling, and so they lost their jobs, lost their livelihood, and she brought their children, their family to Pakistan. And so that's my understanding," she said.

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