Man Sentenced to 5 Years in State Prison After Fraudulent GoFundMe Campaign

mugshot of Mark D’Amico
Office of the Burlington County Prosecutor

“But it was all a lie, and it was illegal,” said Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw.

A man who prosecutors say orchestrated a $400,000 GoFundMe campaign off a made-up story has been sentenced to five years in state prison under the terms of a previous plea agreement, according to Law & Crime.

Mark D’Amico, one of those responsible for the once well-known “Paying it Forward” GoFundMe campaign, was previously sentenced to 27 months in federal prison but will serve both terms concurrently.

According to authorities, D’Amico and his then-girlfriend Katelyn McClure fabricated a story in which Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless man, gave McClure “his last $20” to buy gas when she was “stranded alone at night” on the side of a road in Philadelphia.

“The campaign listed a goal of $10,000 to provide Bobbitt with rent for an apartment, a reliable vehicle and six months of living expenses, among other things,” prosecutors said, according to Law & Crime.

The story went viral, with 14,000 people donating to a cause that they thought would lift Bobbit out of poverty. The couple raised more than $400,000.

“But it was all a lie, and it was illegal. Our office is pleased to bring justice for the more than 14,000 kind-hearted people who thought they were helping someone who was living in a desperate situation.” Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw stated according to Law & Crime. 

According to prosecutors, the couple used the excess funds for casino gambling and personal items like a BMW, a New Year’s trip to Las Vegas, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, and Louis Vuitton handbags, Law & Crime reported.

After D'Amico and McClure reportedly spent the majority of the funds and failed to give Bobbitt his share, the authorities said they uncovered the lie.

According to prosecutors, Bobbitt took civil action after he allegedly only received approximately $75,000 of the funds raised on his behalf, Law & Crime reported.

Bobbit and McClure have pleaded guilty for both their roles in the scam according to the outlet. 

Bobbit pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit theft by deception, according to the New York Post, and was able to avoid prison time and instead will be finishing an addiction treatment program. McClure pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in federal court and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison. 

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