Congressional staffers allegedly held their stepmother in “captivity” with violent threats in a plan to use her to access money stashed away in the Middle East. The staffers are suspected of using their positions to enrich themselves.
Days before U.S. Capitol Police told House members three Pakistani brothers who ran their computer networks may have stolen congressional data, their stepmother called Fairfax County, Virginia police to say the Democratic staffers were keeping her from her husband’s deathbed.
A relative described the woman’s life as being completely controlled by the brothers for months while they schemed to take their father’s life insurance.
The brothers — who as IT professionals for Congress could read House members’ emails — allegedly used wiretapping devices on their own stepmother and threatened to abduct loved ones in Pakistan if she didn’t give them access to money stowed away in that country.
On Feb. 2, House officials banned Imran, Abid and Jamal Awan from the House of Representatives network as part of a Capitol Police criminal investigation into House computer security. But longtime employers including Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Gregory Meeks have stood by them. Meeks, of New York, said although they had access to his data, he’d “seen no evidence that they were doing anything that was nefarious” like steal or hack, and were being unfairly picked on for being Muslim.
But a Fairfax police report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group says that separately from that investigation, on Thursday, January 5 at 2 p.m., “Samani Galani called [police] after her stepchildren were denying her access to her husband of 8 years, Muhammad Shah, who is currently hospitalized,” and police responded to the Springfield home she shared with him.
“I made contact with her stepson, Abid, who responded to location and was obviously upset with the situation. He stated he has full power of attorney over his father and produced an unsigned, undated document as proof,” officers wrote. “He refused to disclose his father’s location.”
The father died days later, with his children denying him a final moment with his loved one, and the body was taken to Pakistan, where there were significant assets in their father’s name. Galani was shocked to learn that his death certificate listed him as divorced, according to a relative of Galani’s. The relative spoke only on condition of anonymity.
“They kept their stepmother in sort of illegal captivity from October 16, 2016 to February 2,” the relative said, telling her they were in charge of her life and said she was not allowed to speak to anyone. The fact that she did not speak English made it easy for them to take advantage of her.
As Shah laid hospitalized, “they would not let the father communicate with the wife, they would say he’d be meeting her when they said so.”
The brothers bugged her house with hidden listening devices and told her “her movements were under constant surveillance and conversations within the house and over the telephone were being listened to. They would repeat what she had told people to prove that they were really listening.”
“This happened in the United States of America, can you believe it?” the relative asked.