Mysterious Maine Farm Secured $ 1.2 Million PPP Loan

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Earlier this year, Common Ground Organic Farm LLC in western Maine received $ 1.2 million from the government under the federal paycheck protection program. The organic farm based in the town of Bridgton claimed to have 91 employees.

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The problem is, no one has ever heard of this farm. According to a report by Portland Press Herald, a local insurance company occupies the address listed for Common Ground, not organic potatoes. There is a company that used to be called Common Ground Organic Farm, but it is located in DeLand, Florida, and has never applied for a PPP loan.

The mystery in Maine is just another case of crooks taking advantage of the $ 523 billion paycheck protection program. A report of the House selection subcommittee identified over $ 4 billion in defective loans paid by the government. Some other bikers include hate groups (as referred to by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League) and even NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy, who was arrested for filing a fraudulent $ 24 million loan application.

Related: Has there been $ 1 billion in PPP fraud?

Organic farmers plant suspicions

Maine organic farmers were the first to report the suspicious loan to Common Ground. They questioned the size of the company’s staff and the location, which was far from where large-scale farming typically takes place.

Elizabeth Moisuk, spokesperson for the Small Business Association (SBA), told the Herald that the organization was investigating the case, but had no further details. “Evidence of waste, fraud and abuse with any of the SBA’s loan programs is not tolerated and should be reported,” she said.

We will keep you posted as more details emerge.

Meanwhile, the newspaper was able to track down the owners of the business officially known as Common Ground Organic Farm in Florida. Business co-owner Pat Joslin told them she never applied for a loan because her business didn’t qualify. She runs the business with her husband and has no employees or payroll.

Yet last month the couple received a notice from the SBA saying they had to start paying off their loan.

“As a farm, we’ve never taken out a loan on anything,” Joslin said. “We’ve been here 12 years, so we understand this. We went, ‘Holy shit.’ “

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