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Brother of San Bernardino terror shooter pleads guilty in marriage fraud case

Paloma Esquivel and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES--Syed Raheel Farook -- whose younger brother was one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino in 2015 -- pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to conspiracy to commit a crime in relation to a marriage fraud case for which he was charged months after the attack.

FBI agents arrested Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister, Mariya Chernykh, in April on charges of marriage fraud. The charges stemmed from Chernykh's marriage to Enrique Marquez Jr., who was accused of buying the weapons used by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, in the Dec. 2, 2015, attack.

Chernykh is a Russian citizen, and prosecutors said she married Marquez to obtain legal U.S. residency, even though the two did not live together and never had a marriage ceremony.

Syed Raheel Farook and his wife helped the couple plan and execute the fraud, prosecutors said.

The case against the elder Farook, his wife and sister-in-law was not related to the Dec. 2 shootings. However, authorities learned of the marriage scheme in the aftermath of the attack.

Farook, who is free on bail, is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

He faces a maximum of five years in federal prison under the charge. His attorney, Ron Cordova, declined to comment on why Farook agreed to plead guilty.

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