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Former Jacklin manager from Spokane sentenced for fraud involving grass seed

UPDATED: Thu., July 8, 2021

Chinese workers lay turf grown from Jacklin Seed’s Kentucky bluegrass seed in 2001. A former Jacklin general manager, Christopher Claypool, of Spokane, has been sentenced for fraud in a scheme that involved a former employee in China who court records indicate helped funnel money into Hawaiian real estate to avoid detection by the Internal Revenue Service.   (Courtesy Photo)
Chinese workers lay turf grown from Jacklin Seed’s Kentucky bluegrass seed in 2001. A former Jacklin general manager, Christopher Claypool, of Spokane, has been sentenced for fraud in a scheme that involved a former employee in China who court records indicate helped funnel money into Hawaiian real estate to avoid detection by the Internal Revenue Service.  (Courtesy Photo)
From staff </p><p>and wire reports

From staff and wire reports

ALBANY, Ore. – A Spokane man has been sentenced in multimillion fraud schemes that involved grass seed facilities in Albany and Jefferson, Oregon.

Christopher Claypool, 52, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison and three years of supervised release, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Claypool already has paid almost $8.3 million in restitution and agreed to forfeit nearly $7.8 million in criminally derived proceeds from his schemes.

According to court records, Claypool used his former position as general manager at Jacklin Seed Co., a longtime local grass seed company, to use a local travel agency to create marked-up travel itineraries for which he later got kickbacks from the inflated fake invoices.

In addition to those schemes, Claypool admitted working with a Jacklin employee based in China to divert Jacklin funds through banks in Hong Kong and China to purchase property in Hawaii as a means to avoid detection by the Internal Revenue Service.

After the indictment was filed in February, Claypool agreed on March 15 to plead guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and a single count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Claypool’s attorney, Spokane-based Christian Phelps, said last March that negotiations on the plea agreement started even before the case was filed against Claypool, who has no prior criminal record.

“Mr. Claypool just wanted to resolve everything,” Phelps said in an earlier interview. “He’s taken extraordinary measures to resolve this case.”

Acting U.S. attorney Scott Erik Asphaug said in a news release from his Portland office that Claypool engaged in schemes to defraud the J.R. Simplot Co. and its customers while Claypool was the general manager of Jacklin , then owned by Simplot.

Claypool oversaw grass seed sales to distributors in his role at Jacklin, which contracted with growers in Oregon and packed orders at a distribution facility in Albany.

Simplot has since refunded or credited more than $1.5 million to defrauded grass seed buyers.

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