CFTC lawsuit against ex-Washington rancher delayed pending bankruptcy
The CFTC complaint seeks restitution, civil penalties, and permanent bans on trading and recording on Easter Day.
On several occasions, according to the CFTC complaint, Easterday featured positions in live cattle futures that exceeded position limits set by the CME exchange and “significantly overstated” cattle stocks, buys and sells. .
Easterday operated Easterday Ranches and Easterday Farms, a large family farm in eastern Washington involved in feeding livestock as well as 22,500 acres of potatoes, onions, corn and wheat in the Columbia Basin .
Beginning in 2016 and continuing through November 2020, Easterday, Mesa, Wash., submitted false and fraudulent invoices and other information to Tyson and another company, according to court documents and the US Department of Justice.
The owner of Easterday Ranches Inc. received reimbursement from the companies for allegedly buying and raising cattle that the company never purchased.
In June, a company linked to the Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ submitted a winning bid for $209 million for Easterday’s assets, according to court documents filed in federal bankruptcy court. The second highest bidder was an investment firm linked to Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
After the Tyson lawsuit was filed, Easterday Ranches filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on February 1, 2021.
According to the filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington, Easterday lists liabilities and assets of $100 million to $500 million. The company said it has between 200 and 999 creditors, with Tyson Fresh Meats being the top creditor with $225 million.
Easterday Farms – started in 1958 by Cody Easterday’s grandparents – also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the same week. Easterday Ranches filed with the court last week for permission to sell 22,500 acres of land.
Additionally, Easterday bought a struggling dairy in Morrow County, Oregon in 2019, housing more than 28,000 cows. The 7,228-acre dairy is not part of the bankruptcy.
Todd Neeley can be reached at [email protected]
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