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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has charged a Utah auction company and its vice president of failing to maintain and properly use the company's custodial account for shipper's proceeds.

The custodial account is a special trust account, designed to protect funds owed to consignors from the sale of the their livestock, said Calvin Watkins, deputy administrator of the department's Packers and Stockyards Administration.Richfield Auction Co. and its vice president, Mark D. King, Richfield, Utah, also were charged with assessing selling commissions and other charges against sellers on livestock purchased on a dealer basis, he said.

In addition, the company and King are accused of using custodial funds to pay for dealer livestock, he said.

If the allegations are proved, Richfield Auction and King will be placed under a cease and desist order, Watkins said.