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California firm posts $75,000 employment bond

Under regulations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, Santa Maria, CA-based Doud & Associates Inc., posted a $75,000 surety bond. The surety bond was posted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to employ Juan Cardenas, previously named in a PACA action.

Cardenas was the only officer and a stockholder of The Lexy Group, a Santa Maria, CA, company which failed to pay reparation awards issued against it under the PACA. 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 $75,000 bond for four years, 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.

The PACA Division, which is part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to the PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. USDA experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.