A married couple who killed 14 people in a California shooting rampage the FBI is investigating as an act of terrorism borrowed about $28,000 from an online lender, a sum deposited into their bank account about two weeks before the attack, sources said.
Disclosure of the unsecured loan the husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, took out from San Francisco-based Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending service, offered a new glimpse into the money trail under scrutiny by investigators of last week’s mass shooting.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has described Farook, the US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, as a couple “radicalized” by Islamic extremist ideology.
Malik, who spent a good portion of her life in Saudi Arabia and married Farook there before returning with him to California in the summer of 2014, is believed by investigators to have pledged allegiance on Facebook to the leader of the terror group ISIS just before the killings.
Malik’s extremist views took form before she came to the United States, but it remains to be seen whether she and her husband were indoctrinated by other individuals or whether they turned to radical ideology on their own, the FBI has said.
Authorities say the heavily armed couple opened fire on Farook’s co-workers from the county Environmental Health Department during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles.
Fourteen people were killed and 21 others were wounded in the assault. The couple died several hours later in a shootout with police.
If the massacre – the deadliest burst of US gun violence in three years – proves to have been the work of killers inspired by Islamic militants, it would mark the most lethal such attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.
While investigations into assaults branded as acts of terrorism often focus on the money behind them, US government officials said the FBI’s examination of the couple’s finances has not linked them with any foreign group.
DRAINING THEIR ACCOUNTS?
Still, one government source told that Farook and Malik apparently followed a pattern set by other militants who drained their bank accounts and exhausted credit lines before embarking on what they believed would be a suicide mission.
A separate source told that Prosper, a San Francisco-based online lender, made a $28,500 collateral-free loan to Farook in mid-November. Loans made by Prosper, which processes borrowers’ applications and evaluates their credit-worthiness, are originated by the third-party bank WebBank, based in Salt Lake City. Prosper then sells its loans to investors.