Syed Raheel Farook, his wife Tatiana and her sister Marija Chernykh all pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired and made false statements to create a sham marriage so Chernykh could be viewed as being married and live in the United States.
Farouk is the brother of San Bernardino Shooter Syed Riswan Farouk, but in the charges against Syed Raheel Farouk, his wife, and her sister have nothing to do with terrorism. The Federal Government alleges the three conspired to create a sham marriage between Marija Chernykh and Enrique Marquez Jr so she could live here and get immigration benefits.
The documents state that the two sisters from Russia even bought Marquez a $50 wedding ring to give the appearance they were married. They showed in documents they lived in the same location but never did.
Marquez is the man who was accused of supplying the weapons that caused so much death and destruction last December in San Bernardino. But, in this case, defense attorney Ron Cordova says, “there was no connection to the tragic events of December 2nd.”
Terrorism expert Brian Levin says arresting the shooter's brother could be the FBI’s way of getting the family to reveal more information. He says, “Now, that they have federal charges over their heads prosecutors have great leverage to get information from them in exchange for a possible plea deal if, in fact, they do have any information.”
Neighbors in their Corona neighborhood had high praise for the defendants calling them "great people," "really nice... friendly".
Outside of the Riverside Federal Court House defense attorneys said because there’s no allegation of terrorism here the community should feel relieved but, the faces of the Farouk’s don’t show any. Says, defense attorney Dyke Huish, “It would be almost unimaginable for any of us to have one of our brother’s or sister-in-law’s do something as tragic as happened in San Bernardino and now be faced with all of this.
So, for whatever problems we have here in their case, imagine the intense pressure of everything else that’s going on. That’s tough.”
“The three defendants are expected back in a courtroom on June the 6th for a pretrial hearing and then the case is expected to be heard on the 21st of June in a Los Angeles Federal Courtroom.