FBI takes over hay broker investigation
Sheriff's office: 'It got a lot bigger than we thought'
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Department has turned over its investigation of Blackfoot hay broker Jeffrey Lee Mathie, 43, to the FBI.
"It got a lot bigger than we thought," said Staff Sgt. Perry Barnhill.
The sheriff's investigation involved Mathie's dealings in Canada and six states, and the FBI has taken it over, he said.
The FBI can neither confirm nor deny it is working on a case, John Morton, FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Boise, said.
An FBI investigation can take months or even years, depending on how many people are being investigated and other variables, he said.
Mathie said he was not aware of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's investigation, or a case being turned over to the FBI.
"I have not talked to Twin Falls County police at all," he said.
As for the alleged dealings, he said he's never done business in Canada and he doesn't broker in six states.
"We operate in Idaho," he said.
Mathie and Mathie Alfalfa Co. faces one criminal complaint in Bingham County and seven civil suits in Bingham, Gooding, Jefferson, Madison, Butte, and Twin Falls counties.
Plaintiffs seek more than $1.7 million in the civil cases alleging failure to deliver contracted hay, and failure to pay for hay, straw, fuel, feed barley, hay-baling services, and other services contracted and rendered.
In addition to breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and issuing insufficient checks, court documents allege deception and willful knowledge on Mathie's part that he wouldn't be able to pay for the purchases he made.
One civil complaint also names Mathie's wife, Pam, and parents, Lee and Mary Ellen Mathie, and is asking for a piercing of the limited liability company to hold the defendants personally liable for the debt.
Another civil suit in Bingham County has been closed with a judgment of $4,539.65 to plaintiffs.