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New Jersey Man Gets Five Years In Notorious Homeless Man GoFundMe Scam
Mark D’Amico and his girlfriend Katelyn McClure concocted a fake GoFundMe campaign by claiming that homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt spent his last $20 to help her. The scheme unraveled when they ripped Bobbitt off.
The New Jersey man who masterminded a GoFundMe scam based on a false feel-good tale about a homeless man rescuing his girlfriend from the side of a highway has just received more prison time for the fake story.
Mark D’Amico, 43, was sentenced Friday to five years in New Jersey state prison, the Burlington County prosecutor’s office announced in a statement. The sentence is part of a plea deal arrangement; he pleaded guilty in December 2019 to second-degree misapplication of entrusted property. D’Amico was also sentenced in April to 27 months in federal prison for his role in the scheme. His state and federal sentences will be running concurrently.
D'Amico and his girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, 32, had created a campaign on GoFundMe along with homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, 39, which falsely claimed that she was rescued by him. The two concocted the story in 2017, claiming that McClure was driving home from Philadelphia on Interstate 95 when she ran out of gas. They wrote that Bobbitt acted as a "good Samaritan" by using his last $20 to buy gasoline for her.
“People genuinely wanted to believe it was true. But it was all a lie, and it was illegal. Our office is pleased to bring justice for the more than 14,000 kind-hearted people who thought they were helping someone who was living in a desperate situation,” Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw stated on Friday.
News outlets picked up on the seemingly heartwarming story, causing it to go viral, and they raised more than $400,000. GoFundMe has since voluntarily reimbursed all the donors.
McClure was sentenced to one year and a day of federal prison in a Camden in July, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced. She was also ordered to pay restitution and to serve three years of supervised release for the 2017 scheme. She pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception in 2019.
Bobbitt pleaded guilty in 2019 to second-degree conspiracy to commit theft by deception. He was then sent to New Jersey Judiciary’s Recovery Court program, which allows for addiction treatment rather than incarceration. He could be sentenced to five years in state prison if he fails to keep up with the conditions.
Despite the couple claiming they wanted to pay it forward to the homeless man — and telling him they'd share in their ill-gotten gains with him — Bobbitt claimed the couple ripped him off. The scheme began to unravel after Bobbitt sued the couple for allegedly not giving him his share of the money in 2018. McClure then accused D’Amico of forcing her to lie on television during one of the many interviews they participated in.