Wednesday, October 28, 2020

GoFundMe scam ringleader Mark D’Amico pleads guilty to defrauding donors

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A man accused of scamming GoFundMe donors out of more than $400,000 with a fake feel-good story about a homeless veteran pleaded guilty in New Jersey to a state charge against him.

Mark D’Amico entered that plea in court Friday morning for one count of misapplication of entrusted property.

D’Amico; his ex-girlfriend, Katelyn McClure; and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, who has family in North Carolina, faced state and federal charges. McClure and Bobbitt have already pleaded guilty to federal and state charges. D’Amico still faces federal wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges.

D’Amico, McClure and Bobbitt made up a story in late 2017 about Bobbitt giving $20 to help McClure when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia, prosecutors said. The group solicited donations through GoFundMe, purportedly to help Bobbitt.

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The trio did newspaper and television interviews, posed for photos, revisited the spot where they claimed their first encounter happened and went on “Good Morning America.” Authorities began investigating after Bobbitt sued the couple for allegedly not giving him the money.

Almost no part of the tale was true, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina has said. Instead, the group met near a Philadelphia casino in October 2017 shortly before they told their story.

GoFundMe said the money has been returned to donors.

Authorities began investigating last year after Bobbitt sued the couple for allegedly not giving him the money. Bobbitt has family in North Carolina.

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