San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook took out a debt consolidation loan two weeks before he and his wife opened fire at a holiday party, killing 14, and used the money to support the operation, according to a source familiar with the transactions.
Farook went to the online, peer-to-peer loan site called Prosper, and identified a loan with agreeable terms from WebBank.com, based in Utah, the source said. This chain of events is consistent with earlier reporting by Reuters that investigators saw no immediate indication the money came from foreign sources.
The source was not authorized to speak on the record.
A spokesman for WebBank.com, Terry Fahn, confirmed in a statement that the company is cooperating with the federal investigation, adding that all requirements, including anti-terrorism regulations, were met in the loan process.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and everyone else impacted by the tragedy in San Bernardino,” Fahn said. “WebBank evaluates all loan applications in accordance with legal requirements including U.S. anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering laws. In addition, the Bank continually works with regulators to address their inquiries and concerns and will fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies investigating this matter.”
Earlier, Prosper issued a similar statement. “All loans originated through the Prosper platform are subject to all identity verification and screening procedures required by law, including US anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws,” spokeswoman Sarah Cain said. “As part of our standard procedures, we also confirm that all loan funds are disbursed into a verified U.S. bank account in the borrower’s name. Like all Americans, Prosper is shocked and saddened by recent events in San Bernardino.”
Syed Farook, 27, had a government job, and a consistent pay-check of $53,000 annually and did not appear to be a loan or security risk.
But as Fox News was first to report, after the Nov. 18 transfer of $28,500 from WebBank, he withdrew $10,000 in cash. Investigators are exploring whether the cash was used to reimburse Farook’s friend, Enrique Marquez, for the assault rifles that Marquez had legally purchased in California.
Farook also made three transfers of $5,000 each from his Union Bank account to what is believed to be his mother, Rafia Farook’s bank account. From mid-November, until the shooting Dec. 2, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, drained their bank accounts, a standard practice for terrorists on suicide missions. A Union Bank spokesman, Dan Weidman, told Fox News Monday "We are cooperating to the full extent of the law with the agencies conducting investigations into this tragedy.”
Court records connected to the family’s divorce and reviewed by Fox News show other irregularities. While the divorce proceedings began in 2006, they were not finalized until spring of this year, and in a declaration to the court in January, under penalty of perjury, Rafia Farook, believed to be in her early 60s, said she was only living with her son Syed.
At that time, Syed had married Malik, who was heavily pregnant with their daughter. Rafia, who told the court she worked in billing for a health insurance company until 2013, also listed her son’s salary as $3,000 a month, well below the $53,000 he earned annually with the county health board.
Attorney David Chesley, who has represented the family, did not return an email seeking comment.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”