Syed Raheel Farook was sentenced to three years probation on Monday, Nov. 9, for his role in a scheme to help his wife’s Russian-born sister remain in the United States after overstaying her visa, a crime that was discovered during the investigation into the Dec. 2, 2015, San Bernardino shooting.
Farook was also ordered to undergo mental health treatment and pay a $100 fine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had sought probation, six months home confinement and 112 hours of community service.
The sentence was the one sought by Farook’s attorney, Ron Cordova. He compared Farook’s case to others in which the defendants were paid to participate in marriage and immigration fraud scams but in some cases received only probation as punishment.
Farook received no money to participate in this fraud, Cordova said.
“He did not do this for money but for love of family,” Cordova told U.S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal before sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Sartoris argued that Farook participated in a conspiracy in which he signed a marriage certificate when he knew the nuptials were a sham, helped fake wedding photos and lied on other documents.
Farook declined to make a statement to the court.
The conspiracy involved Farook — the brother of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook — his wife Tatiana, Tatiana’s sister Mariya Chernykh and Enrique Marquez Jr.
Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook took part in the sham by witnessing the Marquez-Chernykh wedding in November 2014, and then helping maintain the illusion that the two were living with them as a married couple. Court documents say Marquez admitted he was paid $200 a month to marry Chernykh. The marriage allowed her to apply for permanent residence.
Tatiana Farook and Chernykh have pleaded guilty in their cases and await sentencing. A conspiracy charge against Marquez was dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to providing Rizwan Farook the firearms he and wife Tashfeen Malik used to kill 14 people and wound 22 others.
Prosecutors say Raheel Farook did not know about the plot in advance.
In May 2017, Cordova wrote, Farook suffered a mental breakdown. He had previously been diagnosed with depression, and the circumstances of his arrest and his inability to find a job left him suicidal. But Farook is doing better, Cordova said, and earned a master’s degree in business at Cal State San Bernardino.
Farook attended Western High in Anaheim and later La Sierra High in Riverside. He served in the Navy and earned a business degree at Cal State Fullerton.
Source: Orange County Register