PORTLAND — A West Paris man was ordered to serve less than two years behind bars for robbing a Buckfield bank and selling guns to an undercover federal agent.

Joshua Mason Oxford County Sheriff’s Department

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jon D. Levy on Wednesday sentenced Joshua Mason, 40, to 18 months in federal prison. He must report to prison in Devens, Massachusetts, on June 28.

After his release, he’ll be on supervised release for three years.

Mason had earlier pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and being a felon in possession of firearms, both felonies.

The federal sentencing guideline range was 41 to 51 months, but Levy said he didn’t believe Mason warranted a prison term that long.

Prosecutors argued Wednesday for a 41-month sentence. Mason was seeking time-served.


Mason apologized for his criminal conduct.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions,” he said, noting in particular the emotional trauma he inflicted on the bank tellers at Northeast Bank in Buckfield in April 2019.

“I know there is no excuse for what I did,” he said, adding he accepted full responsibility “for those bad decisions.”

He said, “I have shamed myself before God.”

Mason said he wanted to “be a good part of society and not be a burden on other people.”

In what Levy characterized as a “very, very tragic event,” on the night of Aug. 5, 2002, Mason crashed the pickup truck he was driving shortly after his graduation from Oxford Hills Consolidated High School into a boulder as he was turning a curve too fast. It occurred on Lane Road in Mechanic Falls.


The crash killed his best friend, 18-year-old Travis Van Durme of Norway.

Mason was charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but one year suspended, followed by six years of probation and 600 hours of public service.

Mason, who was 19 years old, broke 14 ribs, herniated back discs and sustained a traumatic brain injury.

His attorney, David Beneman, said Mason’s cognitive abilities have suffered ever since.

Mason was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, Beneman said. More recently, Mason has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and has been undergoing therapy.

“Nothing has ever healed the guilt he feels about the loss of his friend,” according to Beneman. “Before the crash, he was a healthy, strong, happy young man about to embark on a career in the Air Force. Following the crash, Josh was physically and mentally impaired, with brain damage, chronic back pain and mental health affecting all aspects of his life.”


The manslaughter conviction, a felony, prohibited him from having guns or ammunition.

Mason worked in an auto body shop until 2019, when an attack of appendicitis put him in the hospital and behind on rent.

In financial desperation, while facing eviction from the apartment that housed him, his partner and their children, Mason robbed a bank in Buckfield, reportedly telling a bank employee not to turn the event into a hostage situation.

He stole $16,972 from the bank, went home and gave the money to his partner.

She called police, who recovered most of the money along with evidence of the crime.

Mason has been making restitution payments while out on release pending his sentencing. He has been performing auto body work from the garage at his parents’ home, where he has been living.


Levy ordered him to repay the remainder of the bank money he owes.

While out on bail, Mason advertised two guns, a Taurus .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a Harrington & Richardson .22-caliber Bolt-action rifle, in Uncle Henry’s, a Maine print and online classified advertising publication.

An undercover federal agent bought the guns from Mason in April 2020.

He faced up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge and up to 20 years on the bank robbery charge.

Levy, who called Mason a “skilled and dedicated worker,” said he wasn’t concerned Mason would commit new crimes after serving his sentence.

Levy noted that Mason has engaged in “extensive treatment” for his mental illness.

The judge referred to Mason’s past as “extreme hardship,” but said he was confident the defendant was young enough and had the proper family support to serve his time and “come out and lead a successful life.”

Levy told Mason that staying on the path he’s been following can serve as an “inspiring example” to his three children.

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