Accused ringleader pleads not guilty in $400G crowdsourcing scam case


A man accused of being the ringleader of a scam that bilked crowdsourcing donors out of more than $400,000 has rejected a plea deal offer and decided to go to trial.

Mark D'Amico entered his plea Tuesday in Mount Holly, N.J., to a half-dozen fraud and money laundering charges. The other two people charged in the case previously pleaded guilty to charges connected to their alleged roles.

D'Amico remains free on conditional release with a status conference scheduled for July, the Burlington County Times reported.

D'Amico and the others -- his then-girlfriend Katelyn McClure and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt -- were accused of participating in a fake feel-good story about a homeless veteran who supposedly helped a woman buy gas using the only money he had.

NJ WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO GOFUNDME SCAM INVOLVING HOMELESS MAN

After the story went public, more than $400,000 came in through a crowdsourcing site -- which the trio allegedly used on lavish personal spending rather than for the purpose of helping Bobbitt improve his life.

Investigators say Johnny Bobbitt, left, a homeless military veteran, Katelyn McClure and Mark D’Amico split $400,000 in GoFundMe contributions and spent lavishly — as they had planned all along — including on a BMW, designer bags and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere. (Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office)

Investigators say Johnny Bobbitt, left, a homeless military veteran, Katelyn McClure and Mark D’Amico split $400,000 in GoFundMe contributions and spent lavishly — as they had planned all along — including on a BMW, designer bags and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere. (Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office)

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McClure claims D'Amico was the ringleader and concocted the story. As part of their deals, McClure and Bobbitt have agreed to help pay back the donated money they spent, authorities say.

McClure is expected to be sentenced in June to a four-year prison term, while Bobbitt was sentenced to five years of probation conditional on completing an anti-drug program, the Times reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.