The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Tuscany Farms Inc., Joe Genova & Associates Inc. and Joe Genova, operating in Anaheim, Calif., for violations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The citation dates August-September 2002, for failing to pay $336,000 to three sellers for produce, according to a news release from the USDA. According to the complaint filed with the USDA, the initial complaint was filed by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees PACA actions, in June 2004.

After hearing and appeal procedures through U.S. courts, the USDA's decision became effective April 30.

"It looks as though all appeals became exhausted, so the USDA's ruling became final," said PACA lawyer Larry Meuers, who owns Meuers Law Firm, Naples, Fla.

Under the ruling - and PACA law - the companies can't operate in the produce industry until April 30, 2011. Both companies are no longer in business.

The companies' principals, Joe Genova, Nicole Wesner and Joe Genova Jr., may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA-licensed company until April 30, 2010 and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.