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NJ man pleads guilty to wire fraud in $400K GoFundMe scam


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A New Jersey man pleaded guilty in federal court docket on Monday for his function in a $400,000 GoFundMe scam when he and his then-girlfriend lied about serving to a homeless veteran in Philadelphia.

Mark D’Amico, 42, previously of Bordentown, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud after he and ex-girlfriend Katelyn McClure invented a heartwarming however false story {that a} homeless vet, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., had simply spent his final $20 to assist McClure refill her gasoline tank whereas she was stranded on I-95 in Philadelphia.

In November 2017, D’Amico and McClure began a GoFundMe marketing campaign titled “Paying it Forward,” which donors believed was to help Bobbitt. Funds have been solicited with a aim of $10,000, purportedly to get Bobbitt off the streets and into a house, according to the Department of Justice.

The pretend story rapidly gained traction because it was picked up by native and nationwide media retailers. In lower than one month, that they had defrauded greater than 14,000 donors for $400,000.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless man, filed swimsuit in opposition to Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure.
Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer through AP

The funds have been transferred from GoFundMe to D’Amico and McClure’s private accounts. The two blew a lot of the cash over the following three months on private bills. D’Amico spent a major quantity on playing in addition to holidays, a BMW, garments, baggage and different gadgets.

In mid-November 2017 when the marketing campaign had raised $1,700, the couple informed Bobbitt in regards to the pretend story they’d spun and the cash of which he had beforehand been unaware of whereas he lived in a trailer. In December 2017, officers say D’Amico opened a checking account for Bobbitt and the 2 deposited $25,000 into the account.

A lawyer for Bobbitt stated his consumer acquired solely about $75,000, a camper and a 19-year-old pickup truck — and contends that the couple used the remaining to “enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford.”

Johnny Bobbitt stands in the courtroom before being sentenced to a drug treatment program and five years of probation after his involvement in what prosecutors say was a nationwide crowdfunding scam at Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly, N.J., on Friday, April 12, 2019.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr.’s plea deal requires him to testify in opposition to alleged co-conspirators Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico.
Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer/Pool

In March 2019, each McClure and Bobbitt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit cash laundering, respectively, for his or her involvement. Both are awaiting sentencing.

D’Amico faces a max penalty of 20 years in jail and a $250,000 superb. His sentencing has been scheduled for March 28, 2022.

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