In this file:
· Washington rancher Easterday pleads guilty, agrees to pay $244M over nonexistent cattle
· Tri-Cities rancher pleads guilty to cattle scam
Washington rancher Easterday pleads guilty, agrees to pay $244M over nonexistent cattle
Cody Easterday’s scheme to defraud two companies, including Tyson Fresh Meats, began in 2016 and was created to cover more than $200 million in trading losses.
Charles H. Featherstone, Columbia Basin Herald
via KREM (WA) - April 1, 2021
SPOKANE, Wash. — Cody Easterday pleaded guilty in federal court late Wednesday to defrauding two companies, including Tyson Foods subsidiary Tyson Fresh Meats, of $244 million by charging the companies for the care and feeding of cattle that did not exist, as reported by KREM 2 News partner the Columbia Basin Herald.
According to a press release from the U.S. Justice Department, Easterday pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to pay $244 million in restitution to the two companies, one of which was referred to only as “Company 1.”
Easterday’s scheme to defraud the two companies began in 2016 and continued through 2020, and was created to cover more than $200 million in commodities trading losses. As a result of the losses, two family companies — Easterday Ranches and Easterday Farms — are currently in federal bankruptcy court and report total outstanding debts of more than $400 million.
“For years, Cody Easterday perpetrated a fraud scheme on a massive scale, increasing the cost of producing food for American families,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Nicholas McQuaid...
Tri-Cities rancher pleads guilty to cattle scam
The Associated Press
via The Sacramento Beef (CA) - April 01, 2021
SPOKANE, Wash. / A Tri-Cities cattle rancher has pleaded guilty in federal court to a single count of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison for a scam involving cattle that did not exist.
Defense attorneys contended Wednesday that Cody Easterday started trading on the commodities market as a hedge against losses inherent in the up-and-down cycle of agriculture markets and became addicted.
“He did that successfully for a lot of years,” defense attorney Carl Oreskovich said. “But he became addicted, like a gambling addiction, to commodities trading and engaged in some very large transactions of millions of dollars, and lost money.”
Easterday pleaded guilty Wednesday and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4. He has also promised to pay $244 million in restitution, Oreskovich said.
The scheme began in 2016 and unraveled in November...