A Berlin man pleaded guilty this week to obtaining property by deception of a vulnerable adult and failing to perform a contract after a year-long scheme against elderly residents in Ocean Pines.
Pasco Allen, 47, of Berlin, pleaded guilty this week to one count of obtaining property by deception of a vulnerable adult and three counts of failure to perform a contract. Visiting Worcester County Circuit Court Judge W. Newton Jackson deferred sentencing, but Allen will be forced to pay restitution to the victims and faces 30 months of incarceration.
The charges against Allen stem from several similar complaints received by the Ocean Pines Police Department from residents in the community from October 2017 through June 2018. In each case, the victim had hired Allen to do various types of landscaping and home improvement work. According to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, Allen accepted payments from the victims, several of whom were over the age of 68, making them vulnerable adults. However, in each case, Allen failed to complete the agreed-upon work despite repeated demands from his victims. Further investigation revealed Allen was not licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to perform the work as required by law.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser commended the Ocean Pines Police Department for its work on the investigation and thanked former Assistant State’s Attorneys Lauren Bowden and Jarod Monteiro for their efforts in prosecuting the case. Heiser also urged Worcester County residents to use free online resources to conduct checks on any individuals they plan to hire for home improvement work. “Empowering our citizens to use these resources to educate themselves on an individual’s criminal history and licensing status is an important mission of the State’s Attorney’s Office. “We are working every day to raise awareness about these types of financial crimes and predators and what individual citizens can do to protect themselves from future victimization.”
Residents can use the Maryland Judiciary Case Search site at www.mdcourts.gov to search for criminal records. Residents can also access the Maryland Home Improvement Commission website at www.dllr.state.md.us/license/mhic to determine if an individual possesses the requisite license to perform home improvement work.