Five years in prison for GoFundMe scammer who used homeless vet story

A New Jersey man who fabricated a story about a homeless veteran helping his then-girlfriend and used it to solicit more than $400,000 online was sentenced to five years in state prison Friday. I was handed down.

Mark D’Amico pleaded guilty in December 2019, and in late 2017, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. was accused of helping D’Amico’s girlfriend Caitlin McClure when his car ran out of gas on Interstate 95. Admitted to making up a nice story about donating the last $20. in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors said at the time that the three had met before and concocted a money-making scheme. They conducted newspaper and television interviews and solicited donations, ostensibly to help Bobbitt, through a GoFundMe campaign dubbed “Paying It Forward.”

The campaign raised more than $400,000 from nearly 14,000 donors in about a month, making it the largest scam ever conducted through a crowdfunding platform at the time, according to the Burlington County, New Jersey Attorney’s Office.

Authorities launched an investigation after Bobbitt sued the couple for not handing over the money. They finally determined that all the money had been spent by his March 2018, with McClure and D’Amico spending most of it on campervans, BMWs, and trips to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.

Burlington County Prosecutor Latia Bradshaw said in a statement Friday, “People really wanted to believe it was true.” But it was all a lie and illegal. We are happy to bring justice to over 14,000 kind-hearted people who thought they were helping someone alive in a desperate situation.”

D’Amico and McClure were ordered to pay GoFundMe in full.

D’Amico has also pleaded guilty to segregating federal charges and is currently incarcerated at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His state sentence will run concurrently, and he will serve the rest of his state sentence after completing his 27-month federal sentence, according to the prosecutor’s office.

McClure and Bobbitt also pleaded guilty to state and federal charges. Bobbitt has been in the state’s drug court program as part of his plea bargain and is awaiting federal sentencing.McClure said on federal charges he was sentenced to one year in prison and on state charges he was sentenced to prison. We are awaiting judgment and will be given additional time.

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