CLEARFIELD – A man accused of selling a trailer he didn’t own will be spending years in state prison.
Matthew Alan Kelley, 28, currently an inmate of the Mercer County Prison, pleaded guilty to felony counts of theft by deception, forgery and criminal trespass before President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman during colloquy court Monday.
The charges stem from the sale of a trailer located on Willow Drive in Lawrence Township for which the victim paid over $26,000.
Prior to sentencing, Kelley’s attorney, Jendi Schwab, explained that he was sentenced to three to six years in state prison in April and then given a consecutive term of two to four years for a separate case, both in Mercer County.
She asked that the sentence from Clearfield County run concurrent to the other sentences to allow him to participate in a drug treatment program that requires a minimum five-year sentence.
Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue said the commonwealth was not opposed to him being placed in the drug treatment program. The plea was for a minimum term of 36 months.
The victim addressed the court saying that she worries about getting her money back.
“He took everything I had.”
Kelley apologized to the victim and said he would work every day to pay her back. He said he is now motivated to change his life after having abused drugs and alcohol.
Ammerman sentenced Kelley to serve 36 months to six years in state prison, which will run consecutive to his other sentences.
With the Mercer County cases, he is looking at serving eight to 16 years in state prison.
It was noted in addition, he is looking at a probation revocation in Mercer County.
Kelley must pay $28,920 in restitution.
In July, Ammerman rejected a plea in this case for a nine-month sentence, which he called “absolutely outrageous.”
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a resident contacted police explaining she had purchased a trailer and now suspected she was the victim of fraud.
In December of 2020, she said she responded to a Facebook Marketplace ad for the trailer and when she went to see it, she was met by Kelley, whose name was not listed on the ad.
He gave her a tour of the mobile home and told her if she wanted it, she would need to put down a deposit since other people were interested in it.
At this point, she gave him a check for $5,000 with an agreement of paying a total of $27,000.
Kelley told her he “forgot his legal documents, however, drew up a contract on a piece of paper agreeing to the terms, with his signature” and hers. The balance of the money was to be paid by Jan. 10, 2021.
The victim cashed several IRA accounts to get the rest of the money and wrote three checks for $7,000 each, which she gave to Kelley.
He provided her with a Quitclaim deed, which appeared to her to be a legal document.
To finalize the deal, she gave him another check for $896. He told her she would receive the title in eight to 10 business days. However, this did not happen.
Later she text-messaged him asking about it, and he said it would be two more weeks. After that deadline passed, she sent another text inquiring about the title. Kelley told her he was waiting for the checks to clear.
About 12 days later, she was contacted by the trailer park manager’s office asking her about buying the home and questioning how she did that when the owner was in state prison.
It was after this that the victim phoned police.
When the owner was contacted, he said he thought Kelley worked as an attorney for a law firm he was dealing with in his legal proceedings.
Kelley had been asked to pay the owner’s rent and his mortgage but was never given permission to sell or even enter his property.
“Matthew Kelley is currently incarcerated for defrauding other victims in the same manner throughout the state,” according the complaint.