More people have come forward, saying they were ripped off by a Waterbury CBD businessman, who now faces additional criminal charges.
Douglas Bell, 58, of Middlesex was arraigned late last month on the added criminal counts, all involving allegations of failing to pay farmers for hemp harvests and other people who provided services to his business.
Bell owned CBD-Vermont, a now-closed business on Route 100 in Waterbury.
“I think the grand tally of what we charged is somewhere in the neighborhood of $370,000 worth of obligations,” said Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault.
Bell was arraigned in December on several charges involving five different parties. Since that time, a handful of other parties have come forward. Bell now faces more than 15 criminal charges, including theft of service, writing bad checks and false pretense. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and entered his latest pleas at an arraignment Aug. 27 in Washington County criminal court in Barre.
Thibault said the cases against Bell involve 11 alleged victims.
“They are predominantly family farms,” the prosecutor said. “From the state’s perspective, this represents a common scheme or plan.”
In addition, Thibault refiled theft of services charges against Bell stemming from the five earlier cases. When Bell was arraigned in December on those counts, Judge Mary Morrissey ruled those charges lacked sufficient evidence. At issue was whether the prosecution could show Bell “knowingly” agreed to contracts with the farmers that he couldn’t fulfill.