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‘Ghost Cattle’ Rancher Who Scammed Tyson of $233 Million Gets 11 Years

  • Cody Easterday took Tyson money to raise nonexistent cattle
  • He used much of the money to cover futures trading losses
The Tyson Foods Inc. logo. 

The Tyson Foods Inc. logo. 

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A rancher who got Tyson Foods Inc. to pay him $233 million to raise nonexistent cattle was ordered to spend 11 years in a federal prison.

Cody Allen Easterday of Mesa, Washington, was sentenced on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty last year to running a fraudulent scheme from 2016 to 2020 in which he submitted false invoices to Tyson and another unnamed company for costs relating to 265,000 head of “ghost cattle.” The other company paid him $11 million.