A Willamette Valley wholesale grass seed distributor pleaded guilty Monday in federal court for knowingly concealing a scheme to defraud the Jacklin Seed Company, then a subsidiary of the J.R. Simplot Company.
ProSeeds Marketing, Inc., based in Jefferson, pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of felony, which consists of failing to report knowledge of a felony to authorities.
According to court documents, ProSeeds had a longstanding commercial relationship with the Jacklin Seed Company, routinely contracting it for the purchase and sale of grass seed. Contracts were typically negotiated with a Jacklin employee acting under the supervision of Christopher Claypool, Jacklin’s general manager.
In March, Claypool, 53, a Spokane, Washington resident, was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering for perpetrating multiple schemes to defraud Jacklin. Claypool was later sentenced to three years in federal prison.
Beginning in December 2018, Claypool and the Jacklin employee conspired to divert a portion of the overseas sales Claypool negotiated on behalf of Jacklin so that Claypool and the employee could collect commissions on those sales. As part of this scheme, Claypool incorporated Green Pyramid, LLC to pose as an independent grass seed broker and accept payment of the fraudulent commissions, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.