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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 16, 2012

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The Petraeus scandal has erupted — and no one in its path is granted secrecy.

The newest person to be investigated is Jill Kelley’s sister, Natalie Khawam, who has $2 million in personal loan debt. According to new reports by the Huffington Post, part of the loan money is from a defense department lobbyist.

The Petraeus scandal has continued to unfold ever since last Friday, Nov. 9, when CIA director David Petraeus announced his resignation from the CIA. Petraeus was a noted Afghanistan war chief and the complexity of the scandal only further shocked the public.

A Consolidated History of the Petraeus Scandal

Paula Broadwell, a recent Harvard University graduate, decides to turn her graduate dissertation into a book. After meeting Petraeus during her university studies, she uses her new connections to continue to research U.S. Central Commander Petraeus. From 2010 to 2011, Broadwell continues writing her book about Petraeus’ leadership, and is given unprecedented access to top CIA commanders.

On Sept. 6, 2011, Petraeus is sworn in as CIA Director with his wife, Holly Pataeus, at his side. Broadwell retains her contact with the new director, and in November, Petraeus and Broadwell begin their extramarital affair.

In January 2012, Broadwell’s biography, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” is released.

In May, an email later traced back to Broadwell, was sent to General John Allen, the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan. The email warned him to stay away from Tampa socialite and military event frequenter, Jill Kelley. Kelley receives several anonymous threatening emails, which she later reveals to the FBI.

An FBI investigation is launched. After the Petraeus and Broadwell affair ends in July, so do the emails to Kelley. The investigation continues and evidence about the affair is discovered. The FBI states that no security breaches occurred, but they continue to research the harassing emails sent to Kelley. A final interview is held with Broadwell and she notifies them that she did not receive classified documents from Petraeus.

The day after Election Day, Nov. 7, the White House is notified of the Petraeus affair. A day later, President Barack Obama asks Petraeus to resign. Petraeus resigns, and the ensuing investigations by the media erupt into the discovery of hidden agendas and financial woes, including the personal loan debt of Jill Kelley’s sister, Natalie Khawam.

The Extent of Khawam’s Personal Loan Debt

Khawam, Kelley’s identical twin sister, followed her sisters’ example and profited off her political connections. The sisters were known for frequenting and hosting political parties.

After a failed marriage, Khawam dated Gerald “Jerry” Harrington, a Rhode Island lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser. The two met while she was living at her sister’s house in Tampa, Fla. Khawam received a $300,000 personal loan from Harrington that she was unable to pay back. Harrington introduced Khawam to several Senators; including Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

Khawam was overwhelmed by personal loan debts and filed for bankruptcy in April 2012. In her Chapter 7 filing, she listed a total of $3.6 million in debt, including $2 million in personal loans. On top of the loan from Harrington was an $800,000 personal loan from her sister Kelley, and her sister’s husband, Scott Kelley.

Another outstanding personal loan included $250,000 from a New York-based fashion investor, Lisa Krowne.

The final personal loan was from a Georgia-based businessman named Michael Boone. He lent Khawam $600,000.

The reason for the bankruptcy filing was questionable. In 2010 and 2011, Khawam had income of more than $300,000. Even on top of loans she received, her bank accounts were barren. Court records state that at her bankruptcy filing, she listed $36 in her savings and $658 in her checking account.

Unreasonable Support in the Court Room

The two sisters, Kelley and Khawam, had influence beyond parties and money, they also impacted court proceedings. After Khawam’s bankruptcy, both General Allen and Director Petraeus wrote positive letters to the court, in favor of the mother. Khawam was in court for the custody of her four-year-old son.

Allen commended Khawam’s “maturity, integrity and steadfast commitment to raising her child.” Petraeus wrote that she “dotes on her son and goes to great lengths — and great expense — to spend quality time with him.”

But the court did not agree.

In addition to Khawam’s financial problems and personal loan debt, she lost four jobs in the past five years and even sued a former employer for sexual harassment. Her personal life was unsteady as well, with three engagements and one failed marriage.

The history was too overwhelming for the judge in charge of the proceedings.

“Ms. Khawam appears to lack any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers, and others with whom she comes in contact,” the judge wrote. “The court fully expects that Ms. Khawam’s pattern of misrepresentations about virtually everything, including the most important aspects of her life, will continue indefinitely.”

General Allen and Former Director Petraeus are now being investigated for their biased and somewhat uninformed support of Khawam.