A New Jersey man has been sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in a scam that duped donors out of almost $400,000 with a phony heartwarming story about a Good Samaritan.
Mark D’Amico, 43, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to one count of misapplication of entrusted property in December 2019, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office announced.
D’Amico and his girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, had crafted a seemingly perfect narrative to tug on heartstrings. They pretended she ran out of gas on a Philadelphia interstate in late 2017 and Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, spent his last $20 to fill her tank up.
More than 14,000 people donated to the GoFundMe, which promised to help Bobbitt get on his feet.
Instead, McClure and D’Amico blew through the $367,000 they raised, buying a BMW, jewelry, purses and funding a New Year’s Eve trip to Las Vegas, according to prosecutors. Bobbitt sued the pair, claiming he only saw about $75,000.
“People genuinely wanted to believe it was true,” Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw said in a statement.
“But it was all a lie, and it was illegal. Our office is pleased to bring justice for the more than 14,000 kind-hearted people who thought they were helping someone who was living in a desperate situation.”
D’Amico has also been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, to be served concurrently with his state sentence.
McClure was slapped with a one-year federal prison sentence in July and is scheduled for state sentencing next month.
Bobbitt, who pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit theft by deception, entered the New Jersey Judiciary’s Recovery Court program in March 2019. If he relapses, he faces up to a five-year state prison sentence.