A Washington rancher was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison last week and will pay nearly a quarter-billion in restitution following the discovery of his “ghost cattle” scheme, which is one of the largest-ever fraud convictions in the Eastern District of Washington, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Cody Allen Easterday, age 51, of Mesa, Washington, received a 132-month prison sentence from U.S. District Chief Judge Stanley A. Bastian for defrauding Tyson Foods Inc. and another company out of $244 million by charging them for about 265,000 cattle that did not exist, the office said. Easterday entered a guilty plea for wire fraud in March 2021.

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