Tax Fraud Plea Agreement Closes Case Involving Islamic Charity

Jul 30, 2014

The saga involving an Ashland-based Islamic Charity and its former head has finally come to a close. The U.S. Attorney for Oregon has dismissed criminal charges against Pete Seda in return for a guilty plea to tax fraud.

Pete Seda, (center) and his attorney Steven Wax (left) leave the Federal Courthouse in Eugene following his sentencing hearing. This is a file photo from 2010.
Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Seda served 33 months in prison after being convicted in 2010 on charges of smuggling money to Chechen rebels. Last summer, a Federal Appeals Court overturned the conviction and remanded it for retrial. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Cardani prosecuted the original case. He says the plea agreement avoids a return to court.

"I think the book is finally closed on the criminal charges involving the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation's activities back in 2000 and 2001,” Cardani said. “It was culminated in a guilty plea by the organization Al Haramain to one count of basically tax fraud."

Cardani says the tax-exempt charity failed to report to the IRS that a 150 thousand dollar donation went overseas, which was intended for Chechen rebels. Al Haramain was disbanded after the U.S. government declared it a terrorist organization and froze its assets. As part of the plea agreement, the organization's former head Pete Seda agreed not to sue the United States for the prison time he served.

Copyright 2014 KLCC