3701-42-14 Farmer sanctions.

(A) The director shall terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer in accordance with the following reasons set forth in this paragraph. The director will provide the farmer with a notice letter that violations are occurring that may lead to mandatory sanctions under paragraphs (A)(2)(b) to (A)(3) of this rule. The notice letter will be provided to the farmer after an initial finding and prior to taking further action, unless providing such notice compromises an investigation.

(1) The director shall terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer for a period of six years if the director finds that the farmer has exchanged food instruments or vouchers for cash, firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances as defined in 21 U.S.C. 802 (in effect on July 1, 2010).

(2) The director shall terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer for a period of three years if he or she finds that the farmer has:

(a) Exchanged food instruments or vouchers for alcohol or alcoholic beverages or tobacco products;

(b) Engaged in a pattern of any of the following:

(i) Exchanging food instruments or vouchers for credit, including rainchecks, or non-food items;

(ii) Redeeming food instruments or vouchers from WIC transactions for authorized supplemental foods not received by the participants or alternate shoppers;

(iii) Redeeming food instruments or vouchers in which the farmer charged participants or alternate shoppers more for the authorized supplemental foods than the farmer charged other customers or farmer charged more than the posted prices; or

(iv) Receiving, transacting, or redeeming food instruments or vouchers outside of authorized channels, including seeking reimbursement from the department for a voucher accepted by another person or site.

(3) The director shall terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer for a period of one year if he or she finds that the farmer has engaged in a pattern of providing unauthorized food items in exchange for food instruments or vouchers.

(B) The director shall terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer who has been disqualified from an FNS program. The disqualification shall be for the same length of time as the disqualification from the FNS program. The disqualification from the WIC program may begin at a later date than the FNS program disqualification. The disqualification from the WIC program shall take effect on the date the farmer receives notice of disqualification from WIC .

(C) Notwithstanding paragraph (A) of this rule, the director shall terminate a farmer contract and permanently disqualify from the WIC program a farmer that has been convicted in a court of law for trafficking in food instruments or selling firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances as defined in 21 U.S.C. 802 , (in effect on July 1, 2010) in exchange for food instruments .

(D) The director may terminate a contract and disqualify a farmer from the WIC program for a period of not more than one year for one or more farmer violations resulting from an investigation.

(E) The director shall notify FNS of a farmer that is disqualified from the WIC program.

(F) The director shall not accept a farmer's voluntary withdrawal or non-renewal of the contract as an alternative to disqualification when the director is required to or has started the process to disqualify the farmer pursuant to this rule. Even if the farmer attempts to voluntarily withdraw or does not renew the contract in lieu of disqualification, the director shall enter the disqualification on the record.

(G) A farmer, whose contract has been terminated and who has been disqualified from the WIC program, may request an administrative review in accordance with rule 3701-42-09 of the Administrative Code. Upon timely request for an administrative review, the department shall provide the farmer with a review in accordance with the requirements set forth in rule 3701-42-09 of the Administrative Code.

(H) A farmer that has been disqualified from the WIC program may apply for a new contract in accordance with rule 3701-42-10 of the Administrative Code after the period of disqualification has expired.

(I) A farmer who commits fraud or engages in other illegal activity is subject to prosecution under applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Effective: 04/01/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 10/18/2010 and 04/01/2016
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 3701.132
Rule Amplifies: 3701.132
Prior Effective Dates: 10/1/2009