Rancher Sentenced to Federal Prison in Connection with Ghost Cattle Scam

A federal judge sentenced Washington-based cattle rancher, Cody Allan Easterday, to eleven years in prison for defrauding Tyson Foods, Inc. and another company out of more than $244 million by charging the companies for the purported costs of purchasing and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that did not exist. At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Stanley Bastian described Easterday’s fraud scheme as “the biggest theft or fraud I’ve seen in my career.” The court also ordered Easterday to pay $244 million in restitution.