Federal Charges For NJ Man In Alleged $400K GoFundMe Scheme
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Mark D’Amico is now charged with wire fraud and money laundering. Two others have admitted guilt at the state and federal levels.
BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ — The third person implicated in connection with the high profile alleged $400,000 GoFundMe scam now faces charges at the federal level, authorities announced on Thursday.
Mark D’Amico, 40, formerly of Bordentown, is charged by criminal complaint with one count each of conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced. He was scheduled to make his first appearance in Camden federal court on Thursday.
The charges were announced almost two weeks after it was reported that D’Amico is looking to have charges filed against him in the same scheme at the county level dropped. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Nov. 22.
He was previously indicted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office on charges of second-degree 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 and second-degree misapplication of entrusted property.
D’Amico is accused of conspiring with 29-year-old Kate McClure, of Bordentown, and 36-year-old homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. to defraud the public out of over $400,000 through a fraudulent online fundraiser that was launched in late 2017.
The stated goal of the fundraiser was to raise $10,000 for Bobbitt after the trio said he spent his last $20 to help McClure get gas after she broke down on I-95 on her way into Philadelphia. The fundraiser gained steam, and the amount they raised continued to escalate to over $400,000.
But late last year, authorities began investigating the fundraiser and charged all three with conspiracy and theft by deception. Authorities said the story about Bobbitt helping McClure was made up.
D’Amico is the only one of the three alleged conspirators who maintains his innocence. Both McClure and Bobbitt have pleaded guilty to charges at the state and federal levels.
Bobbitt was placed on special probation for up to five years while he fulfills the requirements of a court-sponsored drug treatment program. McClure faces four years in state prison at sentencing on June 3. Both must pay restitution of $402,766 and have both agreed to testify against D’Amico.
D’Amico claimed he was initially unaware that the story was made up, but McClure claimed she was the one who was duped by D’Amico. Both attorneys said the story was exaggerated, but that nothing criminal had taken place.
If convicted of wire fraud, D’Amico would face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of money laundering, he would face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
GoFundMe has refunded all those who donated to the “Paying It Forward” campaign. In April, its CEO highlighted some of the safeguards they have in place that are designed to make sure a scam like this never happens again.