MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CBS) — Mark D’Amico will spend the next five years in prison after pleading guilty for being the alleged mastermind in a GoFundMe scam that defrauded more than 14,000 donors of more than $400,000. D’Amico on Friday pleaded guilty to the state charge of misapplication of entrusted property.
Alleged mastermind of $400k #GoFundMe scam Mark D’Amico pleads guilty to single state property misuse charge with 5 year prison term. This paves way for more serious federal charges his attorney plans to fight. pic.twitter.com/652lghcDj7
— Cleve Bryan CBS3 (@CleveBryan) December 6, 2019
D’Amico is the last to reach a plea in the scam that caught national attention.
It allegedly started when D’Amico and his then-girlfriend Katelyn McClure made up a story about Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless man they knew, giving her money for gas.
It was a feel-good fake story that got them lots of media attention during the 2017 holiday season and netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars from sympathetic GoFundMe donors.
D’Amico originally faced about a half-dozen state charges but he pleaded guilty to a single count of misapplication of entrusted property. As part of the plea deal, he agrees to serve five years in prison and pay restitution. The prison term could run concurrently with any sentence he might receive from federal charges.
D’Amico admits to spending the money, but not taking part or orchestrating the scheme.
He didn’t speak after court but his attorney, Mark Davis, explained why D’Amico took the deal.
“He’s charged everywhere, federally and the state court, with conspiring with McClure and Bobbitt to defraud donors. They plead to that, we did not plead guilty to that. We plead guilty to misapplying funds Mark was holding for Bobbitt,” Davis said. “He’s never been a part of any fraudulent scheme and the facts will play themselves out in federal court.”
For her part, McClure pleaded guilty to theft by deception earlier this year in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. Bobbitt pleaded guilty and was ordered into drug treatment.
They also pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges.
D’Amico faces much more serious federal charges, including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. His lawyer says he plans to fight those charges.