Feb 02, 2023

South Dakota grain marketing firm issued cease-and-desist

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission issues citation against Banghart Properties

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued a cease-and-desist order against Banghart Properties LLC, of Gettysburg, South Dakota, for trading grain at levels far exceeding its licensed limits.

According to reports, the PUC staff lawyer recommended on January 30, 2023, that the commission impose $70,000 in fines, block executives from getting future licenses, and refer the case for criminal charges.

The PUC alleges the company purchased grain far in excess of its Class B licenses in 2022 and 2023.

If the fines are ordered as requested, they would include the maximum of $20,000 for 2022 violations, plus the maximum of $50,000 for 2023. No hearing date is set.

"Largest fine in recent memory" levied against Banghart in Nebraska last year

In May 2022, the Nebraska Public Service Commission issued an order denying a motion for reconsideration of a civil penalty assessed to Banghart Properties, a.k.a. Fearless Grain Marketing Storage & Arbitrage, a.k.a. Fearless Grain Marketing, a.k.a. Fearless Grain.

On March 15, 2022, the PSC assessed a civil penalty of $290,000 against the Banghart Properties, LLC (and its various aliases), for operating as a grain dealer in Nebraska without a license.

The Nebraska PSC levied the large fine against the South Dakota grain dealer in March 2022.

The order in March 2022 said Banghart Properties must pay a fine of $290,000 for operating without a license and failing to properly document grain purchases. The fine reflects $10,000 for each of the 29 unlicensed transactions that were documented in the complaint.

PSC spokeswoman Deb Collins said at the time the fine was the "largest in recent memory" handed down by the commission.

According to a complaint filed in October 2021, the company operated for months in the state without a license and made numerous deals with farmers.

Banghart Properties LLC was registered with the state of South Dakota June 22, 2018, and is owned by Janice K. Banghart. Banghart’s son, Jeremey Frost, continued as a trader with the company. Banghart had previously worked for Frost in his companies that were called Fearless Grain Marketing Storage & Arbitrage, Fearless Grain Marketing, and Fearless Grain. Those companies are involved in separate legal dilemmas.

Lisa Cleaver

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