Another Delay for Cody Easterday

Another Delay for Cody Easterday
In March, Cody Easterday pleaded guilty to a $244 million fraud in a ghost cattle scam. He confessed to Tyson officials that he used the stolen money to cover losses from trading commodity futures. (George Plaven / Capital Press)

Cody Easterday, the rancher from southeast Washington who pleaded guilty in March to defrauding Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale of $233 million and an unidentified company of $11 million, has had his sentencing date delayed once again.

He was scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 24, in federal court in Richland, Washington.

But he argued that he needed extra time to allow him to assist in matters related to the ongoing bankruptcy reorganization of his Easterday Ranches Inc. and Easterday Farms GP. If you recall, he was first supposed to be sentenced Aug. 4 and then delayed to Oct. 5.

Stanley A. Bastian, chief U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Washington, agreed with the request. Eas-terday’s sentencing will now be June 13.

Easterday had asked for the delay days before Christmas, seeking “to continue his good efforts to generate as much money as possible to reduce his restitution indebtedness,” Cody Easterday’s attorney, Carl Oreskovich of Spokane, Washington, said in a filing.

Both federal prosecutors and Tyson Foods opposed the delay. Easterday “has seriously mischaracterized the circumstances” of the ongoing bankruptcies of Easterday Ranches and Easterday Farms, “and even more seriously mischaracterized the purported ‘cooperation,’” Tyson’s attorney Alan D. Smith of Perkins Coie LLP of Seattle said in his Jan. 4 filing.

“Rather than cooperating to maximize the recovery of Tyson, Defendant is actively working to hinder such recovery.”

Smith said that in the early stages of the bankruptcy cases, it appeared that Easterday and his family members were willing to help with the sale of several pieces of property so that they could be sold at the highest price.

“The sale is now closed, and — unfortunately — Defendant’s feigned cooperation is long over,” Smith wrote. “Indeed, Defendant is now actively seeking to thwart creditor recoveries by steering tens of millions of dollars in disputed sale proceeds to his mother and wife rather than to creditors.”

Oreskovich, Easterday’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a call for comment. On March 31, 2021, Easterday, who was 49 at the time, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to pay $244 million in restitution.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison.