Kansas cattle trader fined, banned for life for repeated PSA violations

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, Wichita, on May 12 fined a recidivist violator of statutory and regulatory federal livestock laws under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The court also entered a lifetime ban against trader, John Rife, of Oswego, Kansas, for his violations of federal law and for breaching prior injunctive orders previously entered by the federal court, in a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas.

Rife did not substantively defend allegations filed by the United States of numerous violations of federal law. The violations include:

• Operating on a dealer basis of cattle transactions with a suspended registration;

• Operating without an adequate bond;

• Failing to maintain records and make records available to the federal inspectors; and

• Violating the federal court’s prior 2012 and 2017 orders imposing penalties and injunctive relief against Rife for similar conduct.

During a hearing on the matter, prosecution argued that Rife’s operation as a cattle dealer and market agency without registering, bonding, or maintaining records potentially jeopardizes the financial integrity of the cattle markets. The U.S. also contended Rife’s failure to comply with federal law impairs the government’s ability to investigate and prevent the spread of disease.

The court ordered Rife to pay the U.S. 15% of $1,799,168.50 in new and reinstated penalties, equaling $269,875.27. The remainder is set in abatement in case of future violations. The court further entered a lifetime ban against Rife, barring him from engaging in any further business within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s jurisdiction for which registration and bonding are required.

The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Packers and Stockyards Division investigated the case against Rife.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Brookreson and Christopher Allman brought the enforcement action on behalf of the United States.