A former Democrat tech staffer who is being investigated by the FBI and Capitol Police now has an attorney to represent her against charges of conspiracy and bank fraud, even though she has fled the country and the FBI believes she may never return.
The staffer, Hina Alvi may also have crucial knowledge about an ongoing scandal involving the theft of sensitive computer systems from House Democrats.
Court documents show defense attorney Nikki Lotze of the law firm Lotze Mosley LLP will represent Alvi against charges handed up by a grand jury indictment on Aug. 17. Alvi is married to Imran Awan, who also worked as a House Democrat IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and others.
The filing appears to show Alvi and Awan will use different attorneys. According to several media reports, Awan is represented by Chris Gowen, a long-time associate of former President Bill Clinton.
Lotze did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner.
Both Alvi and Awan face charges that they attempted to obtain cash through home equity lines of credit and then move some of that money overseas. But of far greater interest, both are under investigation by the FBI and Capitol Police for their work as an information technology specialist to House Democrats. Awan is believed to have worked for as many as 25 Democrat members of the House in the last decade.
Last year, computer security officials in the House noticed "irregularities" with various computer purchases and inventories. A subsequent investigation uncovered the theft of tens of thousands of dollars or more in computer equipment.
In February, news broke that five House staffers were under investigation for the loss of the equipment, and for accessing some House IT systems without members' knowledge. By March, Awan and Alvi had been identified in media reports as being under investigation.
In May, Wasserman Schultz vowed "consequences" against the Capitol Police unless they handed back some of the stolen equipment, which was now in custody because of the investigation. A spokesperson for Wasserman Schultz disputed those characterizations, however.
The entire episode has sparked significant interest from right-of-center media outlets, with some speculating that the Pakistani-born Awan and Alvi, as well as other people related to the investigations, could have been responsible for significant data security breaches during their tenure.
Awan was arrested in July at Dulles International Airport as he tried to flee the country, and federal officials stopped Alvi at Dulles in March. Despite the fact she had a bag of $12,400 in cash on her, authorities allowed her to board and leave the country to Qatar, according to a U.S. District Court Document.