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Feds file suit to seize San Bernardino shooter's life insurance

LOS ANGELES -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to seize payments on life insurance policies taken out by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in the years before the December attacks.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles filed the civil asset forfeiture lawsuit for two policies worth a total of $275,000.

Farook took out the policies, one worth $25,000 in 2012 and the other, worth $250,000, in 2013, prosecutors said.

His mother was named as beneficiary of both policies. Farook's wife, Tashfeen Malik, died with him in a shootout with authorities after the Dec. 2 attack during which the couple shot and killed 14 people.

The U.S. Attorney's office says that under federal law, assets derived from terrorism against the United States are subject to forfeiture. The lawsuit seeks to seize both the proceeds and the policies themselves.

"Terrorists must not be permitted to provide for their designated beneficiaries through their crimes," U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. "My office intends to explore every legal option available to us to ensure these funds are made available to the victims of this horrific crime. We will continue to use every tool available to seek justice on behalf of the victims."

A message left seeking comment from Farook family attorneys about the lawsuit was not immediately returned.

Last month, Farook's brother was arrested with two other family members in Southern California in what prosecutors say was a marriage scheme to fraudulently allow one of them to remain in the United States.

Prosecutors say they uncovered the sham marriage during the investigation into the shooting.

Authorities arrested Syed Raheel Farook, his wife, Tatiana, and Mariya Chernykh, the wife of Enrique Marquez Jr., in the marriage fraud case. The two women are sisters and Russian immigrants, and came to the U.S. on visas for work or student exchanges.

The sham marriage was between Marquez, Syed Rizwan Farook's longtime friend, and Chernykh, prosecutors said. They wed so she could obtain immigration benefits unavailable to her as a Russian citizen without legal status in the U.S., according to authorities.

Syed Raheel Farook, his wife and Chernykh all entered pleas on Thursday afternoon in a federal court in Riverside.

The FBI has said Marquez acknowledged getting $200 a month to marry Chernykh, and bank statements back that up, according to the indictment charging the trio.

None of the three are accused of involvement in the attack, though Marquez has been charged with conspiring with Farook to provide material support to terrorists.