Man accused in $15M grass seed money laundering schemes

SALEM — A former manager of a Washington-based seed company was charged this week with 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.

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.

Hotel fined for overcharging people during wildfire

ROSEBURG — A hotel in Roseburg has been fined $31,000 for overcharging dozens of area residents who sought rooms after fleeing a large fire in September.

The News-Review reports SUBH Investment LLC, which does business as Days Inn by Wyndham in Roseburg, entered into an agreement with the Oregon Department of Justice on Monday.

Devon Kumar, who lives in a suburb of Portland, is listed with the state as the owner of the Days Inn. He declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. Kumar agreed to pay $31,000 in fines to the state department of Justice, spread out in payments over the next six months.

At the time of the Archie Creek Fire, the Days Inn rented or offered to rent at least 31 rooms at a price that was at least 15% higher than the normal room price, the agreement said.

The single highest rate Days Inn charged in October was $150 a night, yet during the fire the hotel rented 12 rooms for over $200 a night, including six rooms for over $300 a night, the Department of Justice said.

— Associated Press

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