Mason Buddy pleaded guilty in Edgartown District Court Wednesday to two counts of larceny over $1,200 by a single scheme for bilking an elderly woman out of roughly $20,000 and stealing a $6,000 antique car.
In appearing before Judge Benjamin Barnes with his attorney, Matt Jackson, to tender pleas, Buddy staved off a jury trial scheduled for Wednesday morning. Per his guilty pleas, Buddy was given three years probation and ordered to pay back money to an elderly victim, whom he’d duped into thinking he would invest the money for her. Buddy was ordered to pay the elderly victim $3,500 “forthwith” and $250 per month thereafter until the remaining owed sum of $11,990.55 is paid off. Buddy was also ordered to write a letter of apology to the elderly victim and to wear a GPS monitoring device. Buddy was ordered to pay Trip Barnes $1,500 within two weeks and $250 per month thereafter until the sum of $6,000 is paid off. Likewise, Buddy must write a letter of apology to Trip Barnes, who is not related to the judge, must wear a GPS device, and must serve three year’s probation.
Jackson told the court Buddy understands “that should he fail to make a payment he will very likely go to jail, and he wishes to live out the remainder of his life as a free man.”
Jackson said 84-year-old Buddy regretted his actions. He said Buddy was beset with heart trouble, had walking difficulty, and was living in a nursing home.
Before his pleas were accepted, Assistant District Attorney Michael Preble reminded the court why Buddy faced charges.
Preble said the elderly victim met Buddy at McLean Hospital in Belmont, later gave him a place to stay, and succumbed to an investment pitch by Buddy. The elderly victim went on to write several checks to Buddy to be invested, but as police discovered, Buddy cashed them instead. As The Times reported in 2019, police seized $9,000 from a suitcase of Buddy’s. That money has reportedly been returned to the elderly victim.
Preble told the court Trip Barnes previously purchased a 1962 Volkswagen at an Edgartown estate sale and allowed Buddy to take it to New Hampshire to sell it, but never saw money or the car after Buddy drove away. Police later found it was sold in New York, Preble said.
In a victim impact statement to the court, the elderly victim said, “Mason Buddy turned my life upside down and inside out.” The elderly victim said Buddy “premeditatively and intentionally defrauded me.”
She expressed doubt he would reform his ways. “His stripes will never change,” she said.
The elderly victim told the court she has suffered mental anguish and hardship: “I don’t have any money, no car, and I use the food bank.”
She requested Buddy be monitored by GPS.
In his victim impact statement, Trip Barnes alleged Buddy had a history of taking money from women. He described the Volkswagen as a “beautiful car,” and lamented that it was undersold.
“He said he had a chance to sell it to somebody,” he said. “He wound up wholesaling it to a dealer for way under what it was worth.”
Trip Barnes made it clear what consequences he wanted if Buddy defaults on his payments. “If he doesn’t pay, I want him to go to jail,” he said.
Preble said he hoped the restitution would “make our victims whole, or as whole as possible based on this experience.”
Probation Officer Peter Zona questioned the feasibility of the plea deal. “Are we setting this gentleman up to fail?” he asked.
“Absolutely a good question,” Judge Barnes replied.
Judge Barnes had previously ordered Buddy to wear a GPS device because he’d proved hard to find at times. “Mr. Buddy has seemed to be very elusive,” Judge Barnes said. “Why are we not putting a GPS on him?”
Jackson noted Buddy’s GPS device had been removed. “I wasn’t personally involved in having that done,” he said.
Jackson said it was taken off when Buddy was hospitalized for pneumonia.
Unless proof was supplied that a GPS device hampers a cardiac device Buddy wears, Judge Barnes said, he would be required to wear one as part of the plea. The judge also added the letters of apology. Jackson accepted the amendments to the plea deal.
Zona asked where the previous GPS device was. Jackson said it was at “Saugus Rehab.”
Judge Barnes ordered Buddy to surrender the old device to the probation department at Salem District Court.
Buddy did not orally apologize to the victims in court, or otherwise address them.