WASHINGTON, June 21, 2023 – Westlake Distributors LLC, operating out of Downey, Calif., has posted a $100,000 surety bond to employ Christopher Martin, as required by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
VIP Marketing Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., failed to pay multiple reparation awards issued against the company. Christopher Martin was an officer of the company at the time of the violations.
Any PACA licensee wishing to employ individuals who have failed to pay a reparation award, or have been subject to a USDA disciplinary action, must post a USDA-approved surety bond. USDA will hold the $100,000 bond for four years and nine months, effective May 22, 2023, providing assurance to the industry that the company will be able to pay for produce purchased and to conduct its business according to PACA rules.
For further information, contact Corey Elliott, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873 or PACAInvestigations@usda.gov.
The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. In the past three years, USDA resolved over 3,000 PACA claims involving approximately $147 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 5,900 callers with issues valued at approximately $163 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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