A civil complaint filed in a Texarkana federal court Monday accuses a Texarkana, Texas, man of continuing involvement in the sale of livestock despite a 2018 court order suspending him for five years.
The complaint was filed by the U.S. Attorneys office in the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture against Edmond Shackleford Rochelle doing business as Ford Rochelle. The complaint requests over $82,000 in civil penalties as well as an injunction prohibiting Rochelle from violating an order issued Aug. 28, 2018, suspending his registration as a dealer and market agency.
According to the complaint, Rochelle was the subject of an administrative complaint filed June 20, 2018, by the Secretary of Agriculture alleging failure to pay for livestock purchases “amounting to $233,417” while operating as both a dealer and market agency.
A “Consent Decision” issued by an Administrative Law Judge on Aug. 28, 2018, ordered Rochelle to “cease and desist from failing to pay full purchase price for livestock in a timely manner. The order also suspended Defendant’s registration for a period of five years.”
The complaint accuses Rochelle of violating his suspension by continuing to act as a market agency following an investigation in May 2019.
“Defendant continued to purchase livestock on a commission basis. He engaged in 43 separate transactions, totaling $1,073,765.22 from October 2018 through April 2019. As a result of these transactions, Defendant received $7,588.47 in buying commissions,” according to the complaint. “As a result of the fact that he does not have a valid registration, Defendant has also operated and continues to operate without the required bond…thereby placing livestock sellers with whom he contracts at risk of not receiving full payment should he default. Bonds provide protection to livestock sellers and consignors by allowing them to file claims against the bonds should the dealer fail to pay for the livestock consigned or sold to them.”
The complaint requests that a civil penalty for each violation be imposed for a total of $82,259. The complaint asks for interest from the date of judgment at the statutory rate until paid in full and that Rochelle be required to pay the “costs of this proceeding.”
The complaint is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III.