Thursday, March 26, 2020

Maine company taking orders for masks, Covid-19 tests, but its leader is facing criminal fraud indictments

Last week, the Boston Globe reported that a Maine company represented by former Portland legislator Diane Russell had reached out to Massachusetts officials and was supplying nearly a million urgently needed N95 respirators to firefighters, hospitals and other entities, as well as Covid-19 tests and other medical supplies in short supply.

In today's Portland Press Herald, I explored the backstory of the company, whose leader turns out to be facing a five count criminal indictment here in Maine for theft by deception, securities fraud, and selling securities without a license. He also owes New Hampshire over a quarter million dollars in restitution and fees in a related matter.

For details, please read the story, which I'll be following-up on.

[Update, 3/31/20: I have a follow-up story in today's paper which reports on how Russell drove a van to a New Jersey warehouse to collect a shipment of masks and then, on the way home to Maine, dropped parcels off with customers in Massachusetts.]

Also, if you value your local newspaper's pandemic coverage and want it to continue, subscribe. Advertising revenue is cratering and many papers are being forced to layoff reporters and close editions. Like many papers, the Press Herald is providing its coronavirus coverage for free, but that doesn't mean it isn't costing a lot to produce it.

Stay safe, wash your hands, and look out for one another.

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