The lawsuits against Tyson were dismissed. The massive “ghost cattle” scam is coming to an end
Cody Easterday’s legal troubles are more or less coming to an end.
Nearly three years after the “ghost cattle” scheme to defraud Tyson was discovered, and one year after Easter He was sentenced to 11 years in prison In federal prison, all of his active court cases were resolved after a federal judge dismissed the lawsuits against Tyson Copyright and Antitrust Claims.
Judge Stanley Bastian recently dismissed the civil lawsuits with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also concluded its investigation.
The commission’s lawyers said they accepted the restitution and criminal ruling in the case and issued a $1 million fine in a filing notifying the court that the two sides reached an agreement earlier this year to settle the matter.
During the criminal sentencing, Judge Bastian described the gambling addiction scam as one of the largest he had ever seen. A scam has taken down one of the Northwest’s largest ranching families.
Easterday was ordered to pay $244 million in restitution in his October 2022 ruling.
He has already paid about $70 million, and Bastian has agreed to hear arguments about payback at a later date.
With the lawsuits against Tyson over, all that’s left is Easter Satisfy the remaining response He is serving his prison term.
Cattle Ghosts Chart
Easter’s legal troubles began when he began billing Tyson and another smaller lender, Segal Properties, for cattle that did not exist.
In total, he collected about $250 million for 265,000 cows that were not in the company’s care between 2016 and 2020.
He collected $233 million in payments from Tyson and secured a $16 million loan from Segale Properties.
With interest and the cost of the lawsuits and the criminal case, they were awarded nearly $260 million, Tyson’s lawyers said in the ruling issued on Easter Sunday.
Easterday told investigators he was using the money to cover $200 million in gambling losses in the commodities market.
Under Easter’s agreement with Tyson, the company was supposed to be reimbursed for the cost of caring for the livestock.
The fraud was discovered in December 2020, and Easterday met with representatives of Tyson and admitted what he had done. He was later charged with wire fraud, and eventually pleaded guilty in March 2021.
Prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office described his crime as “massive, brazen and long-lasting.”
Shortly after the criminal filings, Easterday’s family businesses filed for bankruptcy and began selling assets to raise money to pay off debtors.
Easter’s sentencing was postponed for about a year and a half while he worked with attorneys on the case Bankruptcy settlement For Easter farms and Easter farms. A global settlement agreement was reached in July 2022.
This settlement satisfied most of its small creditors by paying $10.76 million to be divided among 65 companies.
The only holdout was Rabo Agrifinance, which successfully demanded payment of $1 million plus interest. The Rabo settlement was finalized in January 2023.
Easter’s cooperation in the bankruptcy case helped get him a sentence less than the potential maximum of 20 years.
Tyson and others involved in Bankruptcy suit He agreed not to file criminal charges against other members of the Easterday family because of his cooperation in helping reach a settlement.
Last year, Farmland Reserve Inc. — parent company of Kennewick-based AgriNorthwest, and the investment arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — 18,000 acres of farmland in the southeast corner of Benton County with a winning bid of $209. million.
The sale included major water rights to the Columbia River for 12,000 irrigated acres.
Agri Beef subsidiary Blue Tag Farms was the top bidder at $14 million for more than 600 pieces of equipment at Easter Farms and Ranches, the Capital Press reported in September.
Agri Beef paid $16 million for an Easter feedlot in Pasco, according to Capital Press.
Copyright and antitrust lawsuits
Easterday was sentenced in October 2022 and then filed the two recently dismissed lawsuits against Tyson.
The first centered around A Claim copyright On payments for a trademark deal in Japan using Easter’s name and image. This lawsuit was dismissed at the end of October.
The second was Antitrust lawsuit Allegations of unfair trade practices in relation to reimbursement for livestock care, which were dismissed at the end of August. This payment structure, put in place in 2016, was a marked change from the previous agreement and left livestock providers bearing a much greater burden, his lawyers said.
Easterday is serving his prison sentence at FCI Lompoc Prison in California, a few hours north of Los Angeles.
His lawyers requested Lompoc because Easterday has a greater opportunity to engage in “productive activities” and “evidence-based recidivism reduction programs.”
They pointed to the agriculture and livestock program in Lombok as being a particularly good fit for him, given his background.
These programs would allow Easterday to obtain federal time credits to allow him to move sooner to a halfway house or home confinement, his lawyers said in the filing.
Lompoc is located in Santa Barbara County and houses about 960 inmates in the Federal Correctional Institute portion of the complex. It is a satellite of the medium-security USP Lompoc campus, which houses about 2,100 inmates.