Seda sentenced to nearly three years for tax and money-laundering crimes

Pete Seda will spend nearly three years behind bars for his money-laundering and tax-evasion crimes, a federal judge ruled this afternoon.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan in Eugene sentenced Seda to 33 months, not buying prosecutors' arguments that Seda deserved an enhanced, eight-year sentence because the crimes aided terrorists.

Seda must report to prison in 60 days. Seda's lawyers have 14 days to appeal the conviction. Seda also was ordered to pay almost $81,000 in taxes he failed to pay.

Seda, 53, was convicted on Sept. 10, 2010, by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of filing a false tax return for his role in helping relay $150,000 to Muslim fighters in Chechnya while head of the Ashland chapter of Al-Haramain.

Hogan said he believed the money went to Chechen rebels, but prosecutors did not prove there was a direct link between Seda and Chechen terrorists.

Seda has never been labeled by the government as a supporter of terrorism. However, his Al-Haramain chapter and a co-defendant in the case — a Saudi national named Soliman Al-Buthe — have been labeled supporters of terrorism and both are fighting that designation.

— Mark Freeman

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