AMS No. 257-12
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Nov 26, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Manuel R. Piñon of California for unlawful affiliation with Nature Fresh Shippers Inc. and Ivan Big Tree LLC under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
Manuel R. Piñon failed to comply with PACA employment sanctions, which began on Dec. 18, 2009, for his involvement in PACA violations connected with MRP Inc. During his sanction period, Manuel R. Piñon was employed by Nature Fresh Shippers Inc. and Ivan Big Tree LLC. Accordingly, Manuel R. Piñon has consented to an additional year of employment sanctions pursuant to Section 8(b) of the PACA.
As a result, Manuel R. Piñon may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee during the suspension period from Nov. 7, 2012, through Nov. 7, 2013. After this period, he may again be employed with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
Under PACA provisions, those individuals held responsibly connected to PACA violations including sole proprietors, partners, members, officers, directors, and stockholders, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Branch, regulates fair trading practices of produce companies operating subject to the PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. The USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a company’s license for PACA violations. All PACA oversight actions are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 5,000 claims filed under the PACA involving almost $96 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information, contact Josephine E. Jenkins, Acting Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, by fax at (202) 720-8868, or by email at InvestigativeEnforcement@ams.usda.gov
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