June 4, 2019

PACA sanctions levied against five produce distributors

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) sanctions on five produce businesses for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the sellers of produce they purchased and failing to pay reparation awards issued under the PACA.

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:

  • Academy Fruit Company LLC, operating out of Clovis, California, for failing to pay a $9,600 award in favor of an Illinois seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Jayson Paul Scarborough was listed as a member or manager of the business.
  • Epic Fresh Produce LLC, operating out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for failing to pay a $97,319 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Mario Cardenas was listed a member or manager of the business.
  • PK Produce Inc., operating out of Canton, Ohio, for failing to pay a $23,370 award in favor of a New York seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Paul Kasapis was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder of the business.
  • EJ Produce Inc., operating out of Dallas, for failing to pay a $1,094 award in favor of a Texas seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Julio Guzman and Eugenio Cuellar were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.
  • Terra Organica Inc., operating out of Bellingham, Washington, for failing to pay a $15,706 award in favor of an Oregon seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Stephen Trinkaus was listed as the officer, director and/or major stockholder 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.

For more information regarding this matter, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, at 202-720-2890 or [email protected].


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