DOJ Sues to Block San Bernardino Terrorist’s $275K Life Insurance

San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook took out a life insurance policy shortly after he began planning Islamic terror attacks, but on Tuesday federal prosecutors filed a civil asset forfeiture lawsuit in order to block $275,000 worth of life insurance proceeds from reaching his family.

Farook took out two life insurance policies prior to the December 2 terror attacks in San Bernardino that he carried out with his wife, Tashfeen Malik. Malik, who met Farook online and in Saudi Arabia, came to the United States from Pakistan on a K-1 fiancé visa. The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that Farook took out the first policy for $25,000 in 2012. A second policy was taken out for $250,000 in 2013.

A portion of the summary of factual and legal bases for forfeiture portion of the complaint for forfeiture reads:

Starting in approximately 2011, Farook and a co-conspirator, Enrique Marquez Jr. (“Marquez”), made plans to conduct terrorist attacks in Riverside County, California.  As part of that planning, Farook and Marquez acquired weapons and explosive powder to facilitate the attacks and engaged in training to carry out the attack plans.  In 2012 and 2013, after Farook had initiated plans to conduct the attacks, he obtained the life insurance coverage described above. Farook named Rafia, his mother, as the primary beneficiary of that coverage.

The DOJ specified on Tuesday: “The ‘application for arrest in rem’ must be approved by a federal judge before the money can be seized by the government.”

The complaint also states that Farook “aspired to engage in terrorist actions beginning no later than 2011.” Also detailed is Farook’s influence on Marquez, including introducing him to Islam in 2005, which resulted in Marquez’s conversion to that religion in 2007. Farook also began discussing terror-linked imam Anwar al-Awlaki (listed in the documents as al-Aulaqi), a purveyor of Islamic jihad doctrine, with Marquez.

Awlaki spent time teaching Islam in San Diego, then later on the East Coast of the United States. While in the U.S., Awlaki asserted that he was a moderate Muslim, but after moving to Yemen he began circulating videos promoting violent Islamic jihadist propaganda.

The complaint also alleges that Farook and Marquez had been “inspired by the acts of Muslim Army Major Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people and injured more than 30 at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009.”

The DOJ is arguing that “the Policy Benefits are assets derived from a Federal crime of terrorism.” According to the DOJ, in such a case, “[u]nder federal law, any assets derived from a crime of terrorism against the United States, its citizens or residents, or their property, are subject to forfeiture by the government.”

Investigation into the San Bernardino Islamic terror attack continues through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with combined efforts from the San Bernardino Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Ontario Police Department, the Riverside Police Department, the Corona Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies, as detailed by the DOJ.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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