Feds Tie Insurance Buy to Plotting |of Deadly San Bernardino Attacks

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook took out two insurance policies worth $275,000 because he anticipated death by violent jihad in last year’s Dec. 2 terror attack, the government says in a new court filing.
     In a federal civil asset forfeiture complaint filed last month, prosecutors expanded on Farook’s ties to Islamic extremism and attacks he had planned, but did little to support claims against a $25,000 death benefit and a $250,000 supplemental life policy from Minnesota Life Insurance, stating only that in carrying out the attacks with his wife Tashfeen Malik, Farook intended to “influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, and/or to retaliate against government conduct.”
      U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal asked the government to clarify its position in a June 2 order as he considers whether or not to issue an arrest warrant against the policies’ benefits.
     In court papers filed Thursday in Riverside Federal Court, the government detailed Farook’s alleged motives for taking out the insurance policies, obtained while Farook was employed by the county as a food inspector.
     According to the government, and as previously revealed in court filings, Farook began planning violent attacks in 2011. He obtained the policies after he purchased two firearms that he used during the attack on the Inland Regional Center, which left 14 dead and wounded 22 others, the government says.
     “He anticipated dying in the course of the attack that day, and his expectation proved correct,” the government says in the 19-page filing. “In 2012 and 2013, Farook obtained substantial life insurance coverage so that when he died, his chosen beneficiary would receive $275,000.”
     Crucially, Farook did not name his wife as beneficiary but his mother Rafia Farook as the primary beneficiary of the policies and his sister Saira Khan as a contingent beneficiary.
     The filing notes that Farook and Malik did not flee after the attack but instead “circled the area.”
     “Farook and his wife did not flee after the initial shooting; instead, armed with a remote detonator for an explosive device Farook planted at the scene of the initial shooting, as well as with four firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, they circled the area in their SUV until they encountered law enforcement,” the filing states.
     Bernal asked the government in his order to support its claim that the proceeds from the policies were “derived” from terrorist acts and asked if the government is required to demonstrate a “substantial connection” between the policy benefits and last year’s attack.
     In a memorandum of point and authorities, the government said that Congress had expanded federal forfeiture laws in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to “sweep extremely broadly” and “to ensure the government’s ability to eradicate terrorists’ financing and financial incentives.”
     “Here, as the verified complaint demonstrates, there is probable cause to believe that the policy benefits were generated as a direct result of the San Bernardino attack, as he had planned, in that Farook died in the course of committing that attack,” the filing states.
     If Bernal decides not to issue the warrant, the government urged the judge to dismiss the case without prejudice so it can appeal or replead it.
     Enrique Marquez is the only person charged in connection with the terror attacks. He is accused of providing material support to Farook by helping him obtain assault rifles and a bottle of explosive powder.
     On Wednesday, Minnesota Life Insurance filed an interpleader complaint against Rafia Farook, claiming that she had “material knowledge” of her son’s attack and could have helped plan it.
     Prosecutors, however, have not linked Farook’s mother to the attack.
     U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker filed the memorandum. Spokesman Thom Mrozek declined to comment.

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