Tyson Foods sues Easterday Ranches for $225 million fraudulent scheme

PASCO, Wash. — In 2020, Tyson Foods Inc. announced they would be making changes to tax documents after they discovered one of their suppliers misrepresented how many cattle they purchased on Tyson’s behalf.

That cattle supplier has been identified as Easterday Ranches Inc. out of Pasco, Washington.

A lawsuit was filed on Monday, January 25, by Tyson Foods, accusing Easterday Ranches of defrauding them out of $225 million.

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KAPP-KVEW reached out to Easterday Ranches and has not yet heard back.

According to court documents, Easterday and Tyson entered an agreement in February 2017 where the Pasco-based ranch would house, feed and grow cattle owned by Tyson on their land. Under the agreement, Easterday was supposed to purchase cattle on Tyson’s behalf, submit invoices and be reimbursed.

However, in late 2020, Tyson Foods Inc. discovered there was a severe error in Easterday’s inventory. Documents state President Cody Easterday claimed they had purchased 200,000 head of cattle on Tyson’s behalf, but none of those animals existed.

The lawsuit states for the past years, Easterday Ranches has been submitting false invoices to Tyson Foods for reimbursement which have amounted to $225 million in losses.

Tyson Foods has released this statement to KAPP-KVEW:

In an effort to ensure the orderly recovery of assets in the aftermath of a fraudulent scheme by Easterday Ranches, Tyson Fresh Meats is asking for a court-appointed receiver to take control of Easterday Ranches.

During a recent company-led investigation, we learned Easterday falsified documents to obtain reimbursement by Tyson of more than $200 million in connection with some 200,000 cattle that did not exist. The president of Easterday Ranches admitted to the scheme and acknowledged the fraud was initiated to cover extensive commodities trading losses he had experienced. 

As we disclosed in December, this misappropriation of funds has cost Tyson more than $200 million, which the company is working to recoup.

We are also working with our outside auditor to implement additional financial controls to help prevent or detect this type of activity in the future.”

Court documents said after Easterday Ranches was initially cooperating, they told Tyson they would be selling one of their lots; a very valuable asset. The lawsuit, demands that a general receiver take possession and control Easterday’s assets and properties.

A trial date has not yet been announced, stay with KAPP-KVEW Local News for the latest.

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