Prosecutor: FBI broadens hay investigation
Civil complaints seek payments of $3.8 million
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
The FBI has taken over the investigation of alleged criminal activity involving hay broker Jeff Mathie, 43, in Bingham County, according to the Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney's office.
The development is the latest in the saga of the Blackfoot hay broker, who until June 7 faced criminal charges in Bingham County and still faces a string of civil lawsuits alleging contract disputes. In all, the complaints seek judgments of nearly $3.8 million.
Criminal charges were dismissed on June 7, court records show.
"The charges were dismissed because the feds have taken over our investigation and (potential) prosecution," said Lori Jorgensen, Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney office manager.
The criminal charges brought by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jared Ricks were filed March 31, charging Mathie issued four insufficient checks for hay and fuel purchases.
Ricks declined to make a statement.
When contacted on July 1, Mathie declined to comment.
John Morton, FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Boise, was unavailable for comment on July 1.
But when contacted earlier regarding Twin Falls County Sheriff's office's comment to Capital Press that the FBI had taken over its investigation of Mathie, Morton said the FBI can neither confirm nor deny it is working on a case.
The sheriff's investigation involved Mathie's dealings in Canada and six states, Staff Sergeant Perry Barnhill told Capital Press in late May.
Mathie is still facing nine civil suits in Twin Falls, Gooding, Bingham, Jefferson, Jerome, Madison and Butte counties. Those cases allege failure to deliver contracted hay, and failure to pay for hay, straw, fuel, feed barley, and hay-bailing services, as well as breach of contract, fraud and conversion.
A civil case against Mathie in Madison County, Karl Cook vs. Jeff Mathie, et al., was closed June 2, with a default judgment of $47,817.02. The case was filed Dec. 10, 2010, alleging nonpayment for straw bales.
As reported earlier, another civil suit in Bingham County has been closed, with a judgment of $4,539.65 awarded to the plaintiffs. In that case, Shane and Judy Randall, Bar Al Cattle & Trucking, alleged nonpayment for services contracted and rendered.
Idaho court repository: www.idcourts.us