The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on Ringer & Son Brokerage Co. Inc. (Ringer), Brighton, CO for violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). These sanctions include barring the business and the principal operators of the business from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA.
Ringer failed to pay $278, 943 to nine sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from May 2019 to December 2019. This is in violation of the PACA. Ringer cannot operate in the produce industry until Dec. 13, 2023, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.
The company’s principals, Joshua Johnson and Stephanie Johnson, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Dec. 13, 2022, and then only with the posting of a USDA approved surety bond.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period. 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.
USDA has also filed an administrative complaint against Ayar Produce NY Inc. for alleged violations of PACA. The company, operating from New York, allegedly failed to make payment promptly to 14 produce sellers in the amount of $720, 226 from February 2020 through September 2020.
Ayar Produce NY Inc. will have an opportunity to request a hearing. Should USDA find that the company committed repeated and flagrant violations, it would be barred from the produce industry as a licensee for three years, or two years with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond. Furthermore, its principals could not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for two years, or one year with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
Click here for an overview of companies who previously violated PACA.