BORDENTOWN – A man was indicted in a scheme to raise money for a homeless man and then kept most of it.
Mark D’Amico, 40, formerly of Bordentown, was indicted on one count each of conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering, as well as on four substantive counts of wire fraud and 10 substantive counts of money laundering, police said. He was previously charged by criminal complaint on Oct. 2, 2019.
Previously in this case, Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, respectively, in connection with the same scheme, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced. They are both awaiting sentencing.
According to police, D’Amico and McClure created a GoFundMe in November of 2017 titled “Paying It Forward.” It detailed a story about McClure driving on Interstate 95 and running out of gas. Bobbitt, a homeless man, was a good Samaritan and rescued McClure by using his last $20 to buy gasoline for her. The website stated that funds were being solicited, with a goal of $10,000, to get Bobbitt off the streets and provide living expenses for him.
It was a good story, and people donated a lot. The story was picked up by national news sources and the money came pouring in – about $400,000 in less than a month. However, the story was not true, police said.
Most of the money was spent by D’Amico and McClure on such things as gambling, vacations, a car and other personal items.
However, D’Amico did open a bank account for Bobbitt, and deposited $25,000 into it.
The charge of wire fraud conspiracy and the four substantive wire fraud charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as five of the substantive money laundering counts, each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The remaining five charges of money laundering charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.