Washington Man Pleads Guilty to $244 Million Ghost-Cattle Scam
A Washington man pleaded guilty today to defrauding Tyson Foods Inc. (Tyson) and another company (Company 1) out of more than $244 million by charging them under various agreements for the purported costs of purchasing and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that did not actually exist.
According to court documents, Cody Allen Easterday, 49, 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. 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 as profit the amount by which the sale price exceeded the sum repaid to Tyson and Company 1.