On Sept. 27, 2011 the former head of an Oregon-based charity was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the government. The sentence comes more than a year after Pete Seda, the co-founder of the now-defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation in Ashland, was convicted in September 2010. Federal Judge Michael Hogan said there was insufficient evidence to add an additional 8 years to the sentence for “terrorism enhacement” as prosecutors had requested. Attorneys for Seda said they will file an appeal.
Seda’s Attorney Steven Wax says he’s pleased with the outcome. “I think it is very significant that he found that the government had not proven any link between Mr. Seda and any use of the money in Chechnya for any illicit purposes.”
Seda had been convicted on money-laundering and tax-evasion charges in September 2010. He was released in January after post-trial evidence revealed that the prosecution may have altered documents and the FBI paid $14,500 to a prosecution witness but failed to notify Seda’s attorneys before the trial.
Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Oregon was shut down by the Department of Treasury in 2004 in a proceeding that has been held unconstitutional by the federal court in Oregon. The case is now on appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The charity is also known for winning the first judgment against the United States for an illegal wiretap of its communications with its attorneys. The government is appealing that ruling.