RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) --A woman with familial ties to the shooters in the San Bernardino terror attack has pleaded guilty in a case involving immigration fraud.
An attorney for Tatiana Farook on Thursday said the sham marriage case is not connected to the December 2015 mass shooting, but its details were discovered by federal officials amid an investigation into the deadly attack.
Tatiana Farook, whose husband is the brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.
The scheme began years ago when, according to her lawyer, she was desperate to keep her family together - so much so that she conspired to arrange a fake marriage between her sister, Mariya Chernyk, and another man to all allow Chernyk to gain U.S. residency.
That man, Enrique Marquez, has alleged ties to the mass shooting that left 14 people dead and 22 wounded. Marquez is accused of purchasing the firearms used by Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.
Asked if his client had any previous knowledge of the Dec. 2 attack, attorney Dyke Huish replied: "There has been extensive, extensive work done - thorough and complete - by the United States government. They have cleared her in all ways possible of any involvement whatsoever."
In U.S. District Court Thursday, Tatiana Farook told a judge that she suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Some of her family members have done something horrible," Huish said. "When you're a good person, that brings about real feelings of emotion."
Why would Farook conspire to commit immigration fraud?
"Her motivation was for family to remain together," the lawyer said. "That love caused her to be forced into a decision, and in that decision she chose sisterhood rather than to follow certain rules and laws of the immigration department."
Farook's husband and sister have pleaded guilty in the case. Mariya Chernyk is expected to eventually be deported.
Farook is scheduled to be sentenced in November. She faces up to five years in federal prison.