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Easterday set for sentencing

Anna King

Cody Easterday – the Washington rancher who invented 200,000 nonexistent cattle – is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday afternoon in a federal courthouse in Yakima.

The sentencing has been delayed more than a year. Easterday's attorneys have asked for multiple schedule changes as they work through the rancher's bankruptcy proceedings and other matters.

In March 2021, Easterday admitted to filing false invoices for cattle and their feed costs from Tyson Fresh Meats and a Seattle-based company called Segale. The invoices totaled $244 million.

The fraud was discovered in the autumn of 2020. The ensuing federal wire fraud case resulted in a massive bankruptcy of two of Easterday’s businesses.

Prosecutors want Easterday to pay the entire $244 million in restitution, and serve up to 20 years in prison.

But Easterday has claimed in court documents that Tyson owes him about $100 million for using his name and likeness on packages of beef in Japan. He also claims Tyson never paid for some food and care for real cattle. With interest, that adds up to $163 million. Tyson has rejected Easterday's claims.

Easterday’s lawyers have also asked for one year of home arrest and three years’ probation.

Brandon Hollingsworth is your All Things Considered host. He has served public radio audiences for fifteen years, primarily in reporting, hosting and interviewing. His previous ports-of-call were WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Alabama Public Radio. His work has been heard nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here and Now and NPR’s top-of-the-hour newscasts.