Washington Rancher Sentenced To 11 Years For $244Mln 'Ghost Cattle' Scam - Justice Dept.

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th October, 2022) A Washington State cattle rancher has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for concocting a plan to defraud two meat companies of more than $244 million over a period of four years, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.

"Cody Allen Easterday, 51, of Mesa, used his company, Easterday Ranches Inc., to enter into a series of agreements with Tyson and Company 1 under which Easterday Ranches agreed to purchase and feed cattle on behalf of Tyson and Company 1," the Justice Department said in a release. "Per the agreements, Tyson and Company 1 would advance Easterday Ranches the costs of buying and raising the cattle. Once the cattle were slaughtered and sold at market price, Easterday Ranches would repay the costs advanced - plus interest and certain other costs - retaining the difference as profit."

However, between 2016 and November 2020, Easterday submitted and encouraged colleagues and associates to submit false and fraudulent invoices and other information to both companies, the release said.

The invoices were a way to be reimbursed by Tyson and the other company for buying and raising hundreds of thousands of cattle that neither Easterday nor his company ever bought and did not exist, the release said.

The Justice Department described the scam as complex, extensive and long-running, netting Easterday almost one-quarter of a billion Dollars supposedly to support more than 265,000 "ghost cattle" - money that he used to finance a lavish lifestyle and support his business, the release added.

Easterday used the money to cover almost $200 million in trading losses of commodity futures contracts, according to the release.