WASHINGTON (AA) – A member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) was on Monday fined $20,000 and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service for his role in a scheme to conceal the funding source for a trip he arranged for U.S. lawmakers to Azerbaijan.
Kemal Oksuz, a U.S. resident, was indicted by the Justice Department after he lied on disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics before and after the trip, which was made in 2013 by 10 members of Congress and 32 staffers.
Oksuz served as president of the Houston-based Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians (TCAE), an umbrella organization for FETO’s many nonprofits in the U.S.
The businessman falsely claimed that the trip was being sponsored by TCAE without any funds from “outside sources” when in reality, the money was coming from the Azerbaijan government through its state oil company, SOCAR.
Oksuz was detained in Armenia in August and extradited to the U.S. pursuant to a warrant regarding committing fraud to Congress.
While U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan noted that the usual sentence for this crime is six to twelve months in prison, she said “I don’t see that the purposes of sentencing are going to be further advanced by sending [Oksuz] to prison.”
However, Chutkan did mention the severity of the crime, and while Oksuz is being released, he will be monitored for the first three months after the sentence.
“It is still a serious offense, the violation of which undermines the integrity of our political system,” she said.
Oksuz is also being sought on FETO membership charges in Turkey.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
*Safvan Allahverdi contributed to this report