San Bernardino terrorist’s brother pleads guilty in immigration fraud case

0
23

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of deceased San Bernardino attacker Syed Rizwan Farook, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in an immigration fraud case stemming from the investigation of the Dec. 2, 2015, attack in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 22 wounded.

Syed Raheel Farook, 31, of Corona, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud before U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal.

As a result of Tuesday’s guilty plea, Syed Raheel Farook faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Judge Bernal is scheduled to sentence the defendant Nov. 13.

Syed Raheel Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and his sister-in-law, Mariyah Chernykh, were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in April 2016. All three were charged with conspiracy to knowingly make under oath a false statement with respect to a material fact in an application, affidavit, and other document required by the immigration laws and regulations of the United States, and to commit perjury.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in late 2014 and continuing through February 2016, the three defendants conspired with Enrique Marquez Jr. to obtain immigration benefits for Chernykh by arranging and carrying out a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh, a Russian citizen, and Marquez, a U.S. citizen. The conspirators allegedly made false statements in immigration documents submitted on Chernykh’s behalf.

In addition to the conspiracy count, Chernykh is charged in the indictment with two counts of making false statements under oath in immigration documents and one count of making false statements to federal agents about the scheme. A trial for Tatiana Farook and Chernykh is currently scheduled for March 28.

Marquez was charged in a separate federal indictment with participating in the marriage fraud scheme, as well as plotting with San Bernardino attacker Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to carry out attacks in the Inland Empire. Marquez is also charged with supplying two firearms that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfin Malik, later used in the San Bernardino attack and during the shootout with law enforcement that ended in the couple’s death. Marquez is scheduled to go on trial before Judge Bernal Sept. 26.