Really, where’s the beef? Tyson Foods and a Washington rancher’s $250M fake-cattle fraud
Last year, Tyson Foods discovered that about 200,000 cattle seemed to be missing from a Washington ranch. But the cows never existed. Dating back to at least 2010, the nation’s largest meat company paid Easterday Ranches of Pasco, Washington, millions of dollars to purchase and fatten up animals for slaughter. But in the last five years, Cody Easterday, who formerly ran the operation, had given Tyson fake invoices for animals that were never purchased, Bloomberg reports. He had a big problem: Over a decade, Easterday lost a fortune, about $250 million, trading corn and cattle futures with both his business and personal accounts, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. That’s close to the amount that Tyson and another producer lost in the alleged scam, which may send the rancher to prison. When Tyson sued, the ranch went bankrupt and its 50,000 head of cattle—confirmed real animals—almost ran out of feed.