Accused Leader of GoFundMe Scam With Homeless Vet Sentenced to 27 Months

A New Jersey man who teamed up with his girlfriend and a homeless veteran to orchestrate a GoFundMe scam was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Friday.

Mark D'Amico pleaded guilty late last year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to a fabricated story about homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. giving $20 to D'Amico's then-girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, after McClure ran out of gas. The scam ultimately raised more than $400,000 on GoFundMe, WPVI-TV reported. In addition to having to serve 27 months in prison, D'Amico will also pay $400,000 in restitution as well as a $20,000 fine.

The 2017 scam made international headlines and even led to a Hulu documentary called No Good Deed: A Crowdfunding Holiday Heist.

Though all the people who donated to the fundraiser had their money refunded, the incident still sparked debate on the trustworthiness of crowdfunding campaigns. However, GoFundMe has reported that fraudulent campaigns make up less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all the platform's fundraisers.

D'Amico, McClure and Bobbitt claimed that Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 to pay for her gas, and McClure and D'Amico wanted to return the favor by raising money for him. The fundraiser went viral on social media, raising more than $400,000.

However, investigators began to look more closely at the story when Bobbitt sued McClure and D'Amico for allegedly not giving him any of the money. Bobbitt's lawyer said the couple instead went on a shopping spree, buying things like a new iPhone and a designer handbag.

A review of the couple's text messages found evidence of them planning the scam, Newsweek previously reported. McClure allegedly texted a friend after creating the GoFundMe page indicating that the incident was "completely made up."

Bobbitt was sentenced to five years' probation in 2019 after he pleaded guiltyto conspiracy to commit money laundering. Also in 2019, McClure pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Philadelphia's KYW-TV reported in January that McClure's sentencing has been delayed, and there have not been reports of a rescheduled date since.

Mark Davis, D'Amico's attorney, told the judge his client was reformed, with D'Amico reading a statement shortly before his sentencing in which he said, "The person that did the things that led us here no longer exists," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

It appears the scam has not made a negative impact on donations to the GoFundMe platform, with the site's 2021 report stating one donation was made every second that year.

Davis did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment

Update 04/01/22 6:30 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information and background.

GoFundMe Scammer Gets 27 Months in Prison
Mark D'Amico was sentenced to more than two years in prison in connection to a GoFundMe scam involving a homeless veteran. Above, the American flag attached to a military uniform. Stock Image/Getty Images