WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A federal judge has ordered a cattle trader in southeast Kansas to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars in fines. The judge also entered a lifetime ban against the trader.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas said John Rife of Oswego in Labette County repeatedly violates federal livestock laws. Prosecutors say 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
  • Violating the federal court’s prior 2012 and 2017 orders imposing penalties and injunctive relief against Rife for similar conduct

Federal prosecutors argued that Rife operated as a cattle dealer and market agency without registering, bonding or maintaining records. They said that potentially jeopardizes the financial integrity of the cattle markets.

They also said his failure to comply with federal law impairs the government’s ability to investigate and prevent the spread of disease.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rife did not provide a good defense.

The District Court ordered:

  • Rife to pay the United States 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.
  • A lifetime ban against Rife, barring him from engaging in any further business within the USDA’s jurisdiction for which registration and bonding are required.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), 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.