Federal prosecutors are trying to confiscate the payout from life insurance on Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters. On Dec. 2, 2015, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday party attended by his co-workers, killing 14 people and wounding some two dozen others.

The argument is much the same as when the law seizes a defendant's book or movie proceeds. U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker says, "Terrorists must not be permitted to provide for their designated beneficiaries through their crimes."

The government's complaint, filed in a federal court in California, says Farook began planning no later than 2011 to commit terrorist attacks, and that in 2012 and 2013, he obtained two life insurance policies through his employer, San Bernardino County. The policies total $275,000, with his mother as the beneficiary of both policies.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.