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Man accused in $15M grass seed money laundering schemes

February 25, 2021 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A former manager of a Washington-based seed company was charged this week with allegedly laundering and wiring over $15 million through several schemes to defraud the company’s former owner and its customers.

Former Jacklin Seed Company General Manager Christopher Claypool of Spokane, Washington faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering against the company’s former owner, J.R. Simplot Company, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said this week.

Jacklin Seed Company is a producer and marketer of grass seed and turfgrass based in Liberty Lake, Washington, the Statesman Journal reported. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the company contracted with independent growers for the production of proprietary grass seed varieties and fulfilled orders from a distribution facility in Albany, Oregon.

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Claypool, 52, oversaw the company’s product sales to domestic and international distributors.

U.S. attorney officials said Claypool’s alleged schemes include packaging seed varieties with false and misleading labels, embezzling more than $12 million while posing as a foreign sales partner and conspiring with a travel agency in Spokane to inflate costs of his international travel.

It wasn’t immediately known if Claypool has an attorney to comment on the case.