Mark D’Amico has been indicted on conspiracy and theft charges in the $402,000 GoFundMe scam that defrauded donors with a fictitious Good Samaritan story, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.
D’Amico, 39, of Florence, was charged with theft by deception, financial facilitation of criminal activity, elements of computer theft, misapplication of entrusted property, and conspiracy to commit each of those acts, according to Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
D’Amico was arrested last year along with his then-girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt Jr., and accused of concocting a story that defrauded more than 14,000 donors: that Bobbitt, a homeless veteran and in addiction, helped McClure with his last $20 when she ran out of gas in Philadelphia two years ago, and that they wanted help to get him back on his feet.
The three appeared on national television to spread the false narrative, and their “Paying It Forward” campaign on the crowdsourcing site went viral.
Bobbitt, 36, who was living on city streets when the campaign started, pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Mount Holly, and was sentenced last month to special probation and ordered to enroll in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. He will be subject to intensive Drug Court monitoring. He admitted to a charge of conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
Bobbitt also is expected to be sentenced this summer in U.S. District Court in Camden for related crimes. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and faces an additional six to 30 months in federal prison under a plea arrangement with prosecutors.
McClure, 29, of Bordentown, pleaded guilty in April to theft by deception, and could receive up to four years in prison when she is sentenced next month.
As part of their plea agreements in state court, McClure and Bobbitt agreed to testify against D’Amico.
McClure pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in March. She could face up to 33 months in prison when she is sentenced this summer.
Matt Reilly, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, said Wednesday that he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation of D’Amico.
The Prosecutor’s Office said the GoFundMe campaign was created in November 2017, soon after D’Amico took a photograph of McClure and Bobbitt standing at the Girard Avenue exit ramp on I-95. Their goal was $10,000 to provide Bobbitt with an apartment, a vehicle, and six months of living expenses. But money poured in, and McClure and D’Amico quickly spent it on gambling trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, a BMW, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, and Louis Vuitton handbags, the Prosecutor’s Office continued.
The couple bought Bobbitt a camper and for a time allowed him to live in it on property McClure’s family owns in Florence. They also bought him a used SUV and gave him about $75,000, some of which he admitted spending on drugs.