With two thirds of the GoFundMe grifters having pleaded guilty to their role in a crowdfunding scam, I personally have been wondering whatever happened to (allegedly) complicit party number three. Turns out, Mark D'Amico was indicted on Wednesday, and faces a slate of charges including theft by deception and a whole lot of conspiracy.
According to prosecutors, D'Amico actively participated in architecting a scheme to steal just over $400,000 in charitable donations allegedly earmarked for Johnny Bobbitt, Jr., a homeless veteran whom D'Amico's then-girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, said helped her out when she ran out of gas on a New Jersey highway. McClure claimed that Bobbitt had given her his last $20 for gas, prompting her and D'Amico to launch a "Paying It Forward" GoFundMe campaign in late 2017, purportedly to help get Bobbitt back on his feet. Due to its ostensibly heartwarming nature, the campaign went viral, raising $402,000 from thousands of contributors. But that's when things started to get shady.
Suddenly, McClure and D'Amico seemed flush with cash, driving luxury cars and taking expensive trips, while Bobbitt remained on the street. The couple argued that they gave him a camper, but couldn't give him all the money in one lump sum because he'd just spend it all on drugs; instead, they were meting it out like an allowance. That seemed a little too convenient to investigators, who raided McClure and D'Amico's New Jersey home and confiscated a number of luxurious new purchases. A judge subsequently ordered them to hand over Bobbitt's money, which they couldn't do because they didn't have it. GoFundMe, however, pledged to get Bobbitt the money he'd been promised.
That's not what ended up happening, though. Quickly, it emerged that Bobbitt may have been in on the scam, and police arrested him in Philadelphia. D'Amico and McClure turned themselves in, and GoFundMe assured contributors they'd be getting their money back.
In March, McClure and Bobbitt pleaded guilty to federal charges: McClure, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and Bobbitt, to conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence. In April, McClure pleaded guilty to state charges of second-degree conspiracy to commit theft by deception, which could earn her four years in state prison. She will be sentenced on state and federal charges on June 3rd and June 19th, respectively. Bobbitt should avoid state prison time if he sticks with his court-ordered drug treatment program, but according to Philly.com, could be sentenced to between six and 30 months in federal prison for his admission to conspiracy.
Since I heard that audio recording in which McClure screams at D'Amico that HE came up with the whole idea but SHE had to take the fall for doin' a crime that was all HIS FAULT, I have been wondering where he disappeared to in all this court drama. Well! He has not yet received federal charges, but the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office has charged him with theft by deception, financial facilitation of criminal activity, elements of computer theft, misapplication of entrusted property, plus a conspiracy charge for each of those counts. Meanwhile, as part of their plea deals, Bobbitt and McClure reportedly agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, meaning you almost certainly have not heard the last of the GoFundMe grifters.