Judge orders alleged scammer to wear GPS device

Mason Buddy, left, stands alongside his attorney Matt Jackson during Friday's court appearance. He's been ordered to wear a GPS tracking device. - Rich Saltzberg

An octogenarian who allegedly bilked a Vineyard elderly woman out of $25K with a bogus investment proposal, and also allegedly rooked Clarence “Trip” Barnes out of a vintage car, was ordered to wear a GPS tracking device on Friday. 

Mason Buddy, 81, appeared before Judge Benjamin Barnes in Edgartown District Court Friday afternoon on larceny and other charges stemming from the investment scheme and the vintage car, and for issues related to bail. Buddy was scheduled to appear in June, but his lawyer, Matt Jackson, explained his client was unaware of the previous court date. Jackson said Buddy learned of the court date recently, because a homeless shelter he’s lodging at in Salem does background checks as a prerequisite for admission. 

Upon being informed by Salem Police that he’d missed a court date, Jackson said, Buddy was given the opportunity to appear in Salem District Court. On Nov. 20 Buddy appeared in that court, where he said “due to a breakdown in communication” with his former lawyer, he wasn’t aware he had a court date, Jackson said. At that court he was ordered to appear in Edgartown District Court on Dec. 6, Jackson said. 

Barnes asked Jackson how his client would manage to travel back and forth to the Vineyard, given his indigent status. Jackson said Buddy had enough monthly income to support the commute to the Vineyard for legal proceedings. Jackson asked that no additional bail be requested, and that a pretrial hearing be set for Jan. 17. 

Barnes found Buddy had not forfeited any bail previously posted, and did not require him to post additional bail. Barnes permitted the January date to be slated, and ordered Buddy to be fitted with a GPS bracelet before leaving.

During the brief court hearing, a woman stood up when Buddy’s name was called. The judge asked who she was and she identified herself as one of his victims. The judge asked her to take a seat and to speak with the district attorney’s office after the hearing.