Third defedant charged in GoFundMe scam

Mark D'Amico. Photo Courtesy of the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

The remaining defendant who had not pled guilty in connection to the fictitious GoFundMe campaign was indicted on May 7 for his role in the scam that misled donors into contributing more than $402,000 to a fabricated cause.

The announcement came from Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina that Mark D’Amico, 39, of Florence, was indicted on charges of financial facilitation of criminal activity (second degree), conspiracy to commit financial facilitation of criminal activity (second degree), theft by deception (second degree), conspiracy to commit theft by deception (second degree), elements of computer theft (second degree), and misapplication of entrusted property (second degree).

An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court in Mount Holly, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

D’Amico was charged late last year along with his girlfriend at the time, Katelyn McClure of Bordentown, 29, and Johnny Bobbitt, 36, of Philadelphia, with concocting a feel-good story that compelled more than 14,000 people to contribute money believing it would go to help Bobbitt, who was homeless and living on the streets of Philadelphia.

Bobbitt pled guilty in March to conspiracy to commit theft by deception (second degree), and was admitted into the Superior Court’s drug court program when sentenced in April. County officials said that the program allows those with addiction problems to seek treatment instead of being incarcerated. However, if Bobbitt fails to adhere to the tightly-structured regimen of treatment and recovery services, which includes frequent testing for drug use, officials said he could be sentenced to five years in state prison.

Under the terms of an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, McClure pled guilty in April to theft by deception (second degree) in exchange for a four-year term in state prison. Judge Christopher J. Garrenger set her sentencing for June 3.

As part of their plea agreements, officials said that both McClure and Bobbitt agreed to make restitution in the amount of $402,766 and must testify against D’Amico.

The trio’s “Paying it Forward” GoFundMe campaign was created on November 10, 2017, soon after D’Amico took a picture of McClure and Bobbitt standing in front of the Girard Avenue exit ramp on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. The narrative that accompanied the photo described that McClure had run out of gas, and Bobbitt spent his last $20 to help her get back on her way.

Although 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, an investigation of the case revealed that  incoming funds far exceeded their target, and were spent by McClure and D’Amico on gambling and personal items such as a BMW, a New Year’s trip to Las Vegas, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and Louis Vuitton hand bags.

Within a few months of the campaign’s creation, officials said that all of the donated funds had been spent. Once he realized the money had been squandered, Bobbitt took civil action against D’Amico and McClure. He alleged in August 2018 through his attorneys that he had only received approximately $75,000 of the funds raised on his behalf.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit. The investigation was conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit and High-Tech Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Florence Township Police Department.