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US Prosecutors Seek to Seize San Bernardino Shooter's Life Insurance

  • Chris Hannas

FILE - Pictures of Wednesday's shooting victims are displayed at a makeshift memorial site in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 7, 2015.

FILE - Pictures of Wednesday's shooting victims are displayed at a makeshift memorial site in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 7, 2015.

U.S. prosecutors want the victims of last year's terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California to benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance policies held by one of the shooters.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in a federal court in Los Angeles, prosecutors argued the money from Syed Rizwan Farook's death should be forfeited to the government because it was "derived from a federal crime of terrorism."

U.S. law says funds are subject to forfeiture if derived from, involved in or used in a terrorist act.

"Terrorists must not be permitted to provide for their designated beneficiaries through their crimes," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at a gathering of his fellow local government workers in December. They fled the site in a car and were later killed in a shootout with police in a nearby neighborhood.

The lawsuit identifies two life insurance policies held by Farook. One worth $25,000 came from his government job, while he took out another for $250,000 on his own. Both policies specified Farook's mother, Rafia, as the person who would get the money if he died.

"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," Decker said. "We will continue to use every tool available to seek justice on behalf of the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks."

Prosecutors say Farook obtained the two policies in 2012 and 2013, and that by that point he had already been making plans for terrorist attacks with a co-conspirator named Enrique Marquez Jr. Marquez has been charged with several crimes in connection with the San Bernardino attacks, including being the buyer of the weapons used in the shootings. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him in January.

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