USDA restricts seven PACA violators from operating in produce industry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on seven produce businesses for failing to meet contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. These sanctions include suspending the businesses’ PACA licenses and barring the principal operators of the businesses from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • California Fresh Citrus Company, operating out of Porterville, Calif., for failing to pay a $40,000 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Vincent H. Lobue and Christine C. Lobue were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Espirit Trading Inc., operating out of Vernon, Calif., for failing to pay a $26,990 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Lin Calin was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • Los Fuertes Produce LLC, operating out of Elkridge, Md., for failing to pay a $37,322 award in favor of a Pennsylvania seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jose A. Ramirez and Aracely Ortiz were listed as members of the business.
  • First Fruits Holdings LLC, operating out of Wake Forest, N.C., for failing to pay a $71,405 award in favor of an Idaho seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, John T. Fowler, Mark H. Black and Sean P. Swanson were listed as managers of the business.
  • DGR Sales LLC, operating out of Lehigh Acres, Fla., for failing to pay a $150,064 award in favor of a Georgia seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Damon Trawick was listed as a manager of the business.
  • Simple & Fresh Produce Corporation, operating out of Miami, Fla., for failing to pay an $11,843 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Juan M. Almeida, Jr., was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.
  • Rhino Brokerage LLC, operating out of Schertz, Texas, for failing to pay a $30,540 award in favor of an Arkansas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Diana I. Mayo and Brandon Brown were listed as members and managers of the business.

PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in USDA’s issuance of a reparation order that requires damages to be paid by those not meeting their contractual obligations in buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. USDA is required to suspend the license or impose sanctions on an unlicensed business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors or major stockholders, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA approval.

By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.

Click here for an overview of companies who previously violated PACA.

For more information: 
John Koller
USDA
Tel: +1 202 720 2890
Email: PACAdispute@usda.gov 
www.ams.usda.gov  


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