A man who was the instigator behind a false feel-good story that raised more than $400,000 as part of a GoFundMe scam plead guilty Friday in New Jersey court, according to prosecutors.
Mark D’Amico, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree misapplication of entrusted property in Burlington County.
The charge stemmed from a viral 2017 story in which D’Amico’s accomplice, Katelyn McClure, 29, supposedly ran out of gas and was stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.
A homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., supposedly saw her and gave her his last $20 for gas. McClure and D’Amico, her then-boyfriend, posted about the “good deed” on social media and started a GoFundMe to raise money for him. But the story was not true and unraveled after more than $400,000 had been contributed by more than 14,000 people through GoFundMe.
But the feel-good story was not true. Bobbitt pleaded guilty at the local level to one count of conspiracy to commit theft by deception, and both Bobbitt and McClure pleaded guilty to a federal charge as well.
Both Bobbitt and McClure have agreed to testify against D’Amico as part of their plea deal. D’Amico was indicted in May in Burlington County court on six charges, including conspiracy, financial facilitation of criminal activity and theft by deception, the prosecutor’s office said.
D’Amico’s attorney, Mark Davis, said his client was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next hearing in the case is set for August 26.