GoFundMe Fraudster Sentenced to Jail for Homeless Man Fraud

Mark D’Amico was sentenced to five years in prison for a $400,000 GoFundMe scam.

Mark D’Amico was sentenced to five a long time in jail for a $400,000 GoFundMe rip-off.
Image: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer (AP)

Consider dwelling in New Jersey (I know, this sort of a thought sent shivers down my backbone as perfectly). So soon after expending a day listening to wannabe The Sopranos accents when trying to avoid both of those Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore, viewing a heart-melting tale on GoFundMe more than a homeless man’s good deed might make you far more keen to donate. Having said that, in this circumstance, the overall tale was absolutely nothing but a scam. Now, prosecutors are inching closer to entirely slamming the cell doorway on all of these included.

According to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Workplace, 43-calendar year-previous Mark D’Amico of Florence, New Jersey was finally sentenced to 5 several years in state jail Sunday as part of the plea offer he at first signed with prosecutors in late 2019. This is in addition to the 27 months in federal prison he was sentenced to back in April, which New Jersey prosecutors mentioned will operate concurrently.

D’Amico and his then-girlfriend Katelyn McClure, together with the homeless guy Johnny Bobbitt, had been all element of a truly feel-good rip-off they posted to GoFundMe back in 2017. In that primary campaign titled “Paying it Ahead,” they claimed McClure received stranded on an I-95 off-ramp in New Jersey, and that a guy who was homeless walked down the street to fill up a gasoline can with his last $20. The couple wanted to increase $10,000 for Bobbitt, but came into a windfall of $402,706.

They 1st claimed they had been going to enable lease Johnny a house and get him a reputable car. They said they would also established up a financial institution account for his day-to-day requires, although utilizing some surplus funds for charity. Then the narrative rapidly started to unravel, 1st when regional studies confirmed D’Amico and McClure only handed above $75,000 from the marketing campaign and supplied Bobbitt with an SUV that ultimately broke down and a utilised camper as a dwelling. Bobbitt brought in lawyers to assist his intended case, but then later on that year—claimed the couple had efficiently skedaddled with all the remaining GoFundMe funds.

From left: Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure.

From still left: Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure.
Picture: GoFundMe/Gizmodo Archives

Legislation enforcement reported that nearly all the campaign’s resources ended up put in in the very first couple of months immediately after it finished, which was when Bobbitt started out using lawful action versus the other two conspirators.

Police raided the previous couple’s home, who finally turned by themselves in to the law enforcement. The twist? Prosecutors claimed Bobbitt was in cahoots with D’Amico and McClure to fraud bleeding hearted online customers of their income. Law enforcement explained the a few conspired to the produced-up story, which was all backed up by an audio recording acquired by police which McClure claimed she had recorded in solution, all pointing to this wildly thriving marketing campaign as a sham. GoFundMe afterwards issued refunds to all the donors involved.

“People genuinely preferred to feel it was real,” stated LaChia Bradshaw, the Burlington County prosecutor in the launch.

Gizmodo attained out to Mark G. Davis, who’s mentioned as D’Amico’s attorney, but we have however to hear again Monday early morning.

McClure, of Bordentown, New Jersey, and Bobbitt, of Philadelphia, were also charged back again in 2018. All three ended up from the location encompassing Philadelphia, which I have heard on good authority from a indigenous New Jerseyan is “the worst part of New Jersey.” The total journey appears like an episode ripped straight out of It’s Usually Sunny in Philadelphia.

This most current conviction means prosecutors are inches from closing the e book on this peculiar, peculiar web scam. The homeless guy at the heart of the scheme was sentenced in 2019 to five many years of probation as part of a substance abuse software. McClure has also pleaded responsible, and is scheduled for sentencing September 9.

GoFundMe claims that lying about your relationship to the fund’s recipients could end result in a campaign currently being taken down. The company has reported it responds to allegations of fraud primarily based on consumer problems. The enterprise has also mentioned some steps for verifying fundraisers all through crisis situations.

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