SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man, who years ago befriended a female companion and earned her trust before embarking on a theft scheme involving her credit cards and personal checks to the tune of over $10,000, was found guilty last week in Circuit Court to felony theft scheme and was sentenced to seven years in jail.
Roughly between September and December 2008, Michael A. Mason, 46, of Ocean City, began a pattern of theft related to the use of credit cards and personal checks belonging to a female victim. According to police reports, Mason met the victim at a local restaurant several years ago and they became friends over time. At one point, the victim gave Mason a credit card for emergencies that he was permitted to use for food and gas as necessary.
However, the victim told police she never gave Mason permission to write and use her personal checks. The victim told police at some point Mason started to get violent with her and she began to fear for her safety. When the pattern continued, the victim called police, who subsequently arrested Mason for trespassing initially.
At the time of his arrest, Mason was found in possession of several credit cards belonging to the victim. The investigation revealed a pattern of theft from the victim using her credit cards and personal checks. The total amount of the theft came in at over $10,385.
Mason was charged with 31 total counts related to the pattern of theft including theft scheme, forgery, felony theft, illegal credit card use and others. Last week in Circuit Court, he entered an Alford Plea to one count of felony theft scheme. In an Alford Plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute him. Mason was then sentenced to seven years in jail.