Dishonest Fundraiser Gets Sentenced

It’s really not a good idea to defraud people out of money. It’s a really bad idea to do it online. One man in New Jersey and his then significant other cooked up a scheme with a homeless man to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars via GoFundMe in a scheme that turned out to be a complete hoax.

Mark D’Amico was convicted on a number of charges in relation to the scheme and last week was sentenced in the matter.

Mark D’Amico will also have to serve three years of probation once he completes his 27-month term. He also must pay restitution and undergo gambling, drug, and mental health counseling.

Before being sentenced, D’Amico told U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman that he was a changed man, devoted to his family.

“The person that did the things that led us here no longer exists,” D’Amico said.

He had pleaded guilty before Hillman in Camden in November to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. An indictment unsealed in January 2020 charged D’Amico with a total of 16 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering.

That does not seem like much of a sentence for someone who schemed to defraud well-meaning people of their hard-earned money.

He had already pleaded guilty to charges in state court last year. His former girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. previously pleaded guilty to state and federal charges. Bobbitt was sentenced to five years’ probation on state charges in 2019. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charges this year.

The trio made up a story in late 2017 about Bobbitt giving $20 to help McClure when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia, according to prosecutors. D’Amico and McClure solicited donations through GoFundMe, purportedly to help Bobbitt, and conducted newspaper and television interviews. Investigators said D’Amico was the plot’s ringleader.

They eventually raised more than $400,000 in donations over about a month, according to investigators, who said almost no part of the tale was true. The group had met near a Philadelphia casino in October 2017 shortly before they told their story, prosecutors said.

This trio won’t be defrauding anyone in the future, that’s for sure.

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