HYDE PARK — A 57-year-old business owner from Middlesex has been arrested on charges of failing to pay five hemp farmers tens of thousands of dollars, one farm here in Lamoille county.
Authorities say that Doughlas Bell, owner of CBD-Vermont located in Waterbury, had contracted with a list of farmers to grow hemp on their property in return for payment.
One of the farmers listed is Zach Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, operated by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter.
Police say the farmers have not received payment.
According to police, in some cases, Bell wrote checks for payment but those checks were returned for insufficient funds.
In other cases, police say Bell has not made any attempt to pay the farmers for their services.
The cumulative loss for all the victims is approximately $137,500.
Police attempted to locate Bell at his home in Middlesex, and at his business in Waterbury, at around 1:45 p.m.
While police were at Bell’s home, he was seen driving by and was taken into custody.
Police were still investigating this case, and say there are at least 10 additional cases similar to this being investigated at this time.
The cumulative loss with these additional victims is nearing $500,000.