Crime & Justice

San Bernardino shooter's brother, 2 others arrested for marriage fraud

In this file photo, Redlands Police stand near Center Street and Pine Avenue on Wednesday night, Dec. 2, 2015 following a mass shooting inside the the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. An FBI spokeswoman said Thursday that warrants related to the San Bernardino attack were served in the cities of Corona and Ontario.
In this file photo, Redlands Police stand near Center Street and Pine Avenue on Wednesday night, Dec. 2, 2015 following a mass shooting inside the the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. An FBI spokeswoman said Thursday that warrants related to the San Bernardino attack were served in the cities of Corona and Ontario.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Three people connected to the shooters in last year's terrorist attack at a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, including the brother of one of the shooters, have been arrested as part of a marriage fraud investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Syed Raheel Farook, 31, of Corona, Mariya Chernykh, 26, of Ontario, and Tatiana Farook, 31, of Corona were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday in a marriage fraud conspiracy to obtain immigration benefits for Chernykh. 

The three all pled not-guilty in federal court in Riverside Thursday afternoon.

Raheel Farook is the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook, who on Dec. 2 opened fire at the Inland Regional Center — where he worked — along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik. The attack left 14 people dead and 22 wounded. Both attackers were later killed in a shootout with police.

Tatiana Farook is Raheel Farook's wife, and Chernykh is her sister. According to official records, Chernykh is married to Enrique Marquez Jr., the neighbor of San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook. 

Prosecutors and defense attorneys Thursday emphasized that the charges against the three had nothing to do with terrorism.

"I am proud of our government today for not making this a terrorist activity," said Dyke Huish, attorney for Tatiana Farook. "We don't have allegations of terrorist involvement."

Marquez is already awaiting trial on charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiring with Rizwan Farook.

Marquez had also been charged with entering into a sham marriage with Chernykh and illegally signing an immigration form that declared he was living with her, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Wednesday's indictment alleges that all three defendants made false statements under oath, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In addition, Chernykh is accused of fraud and misuse of official documents, perjury and two counts of making material false statements to federal agents. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years in federal prison.

You can read the indictment below: 

Document: Indictment

This story has been updated.