A New Jersey man named Mark D’Amico has pled guilty to his role in a strange GoFundMe scam. D’Amico allegedly worked with his girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, and a homeless veteran named Johnny Bobbitt Jr. The three concocted a fake story about how Bobbitt gave McClure $20 after she ran out of gas in Philadelphia.
The feel-good story went viral and the trio managed to drum up $400,000 through the online fundraising platform GoFundMe. The scam, which the trio initiated in the holiday season of 2017, reached a wide audience online thanks to its uplifting message and the supposed good cause.
The group’s story began to publicly unravel when Bobbit sued the couple for allegedly refusing to give him any money for his part in the scheme. All three have given interviews to reporters for an upcoming documentary, No Good Deed, A Crowdfunding Holiday Heist. The documentary will air on Hulu and features interviews with each of the conspirators regarding their role in the scam.
Court documents indicate that the only true portion of the group’s story is that Bobbitt is a homeless veteran. The couple reportedly spent most of the crowdfunded money in the first few months after the scam, buying themselves luxury cars and taking expensive trips to casinos.
Both McClure and Bobbitt have previously pled guilty to various state charges. Bobbitt faces five years in prison for his role in the scam. D’Amico, meanwhile, will spend more than two years behind bars for his role in the scheme.
After 27 months in prison, D’Amico will have to complete three years of probation. He told Judge Noel Hillman that he has changed his ways since implementing the scam almost five years ago. “The person that did the things that led us here no longer exists,” D’Amico said during his hearing.
Experts implore social media users to be careful about who they send money to online. It’s far too easy for scammers to fabricate uplifting stories just to make a quick buck.
While sites like GoFundMe can be helpful for people who need financial assistance in the short term, social media users can fall victim to nefarious schemes far too easily.
If you want to help make a difference, consider donating to your favorite charity. That way, you can rest assured that your money will go to a cause you support and that your money won’t be intercepted by scammers.