Easterday Sentenced to 11 Years, Millions in Restitution
(Yakima, WA) -- 51-year-old Cody Easterday of Mesa was sentenced to serve 132-months in federal prison for defrauding Tyson Foods and another company out of more than $244 million by charging them for approximately 265,000 head of cattle that did not exist. Easterday entered into a guilty plea on March 31, 2021 to wire fraud for his $244 million “ghost cattle” scam, which authorities say is one of the largest-ever fraud schemes in the Eastern District of Washington.
At Easterday’s sentencing, Chief Judge Bastian said this case involves “the biggest theft or fraud I’ve seen in my career – and the biggest I ever hope to see.” Chief Judge Bastian ordered Easterday to pay more than $244-million dollars in restitution and imposed a three-year period of supervised release after Easterday is released from federal prison.
According to court documents Easterday and the business he led entered into agreements with Tyson Foods and another company to purchase and feed cattle. Under these agreements, the victims advanced Easterday Ranches the costs of buying and raising the cattle.
But Easterday Ranches never purchased, raised, or fed any cattle. Easterday used most of the fraud proceeds to cover approximately $200 million in losses he incurred from commodity futures trading.