WASHINGTON, March 7, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued an administrative complaint on Oct. 13, 2021, against Natural Bridge Stockyard Inc. (NBS) and Calvin D. [Bo] Wells, Jr. (Wells) of Natural Bridge, Ala., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed Respondent NBS, under the direction, management, and control of Respondent Wells, failed to properly use and maintain their custodial account, resulting in custodial shortages of $38,637 and $14,450 on Dec. 18, 2018, and April 22, 2019, respectively. The custodial shortages resulted from the respondents misusing their custodial account by making withdrawals to make payments on a personal loan.
The Complaint further alleged that Respondents, in connection with their operations subject to the Act, failed to keep and maintain records that fully and correctly disclosed all the transactions involved in their business as a dealer in violation of the Act.
A custodial account is a trust account designated for shippers’ proceeds from the sale of livestock in trust for sellers. Failure to reimburse the custodial account timely is a violation of the Packers & Stockyards Act and regulations.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $29,270 per violation against any person after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in a hearing, NBS and Wells may be ordered to cease and desist from continuing violations of the P&S Act, and it may be assessed a civil penalty.
The P&S Act is a fair-trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.
For further information about the Packers and Stockyards Act, contact Kraig Roesch, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (303) 375-4291, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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