CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A New Jersey man who conspired with his then-girlfriend to cook up a feel-good story about a helpful homeless man and then used the lie to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations online was sentenced in federal court Friday to more than two years in prison.
Mark D'Amico will also have to serve three years probation once he completes his 27-month term. He also must pay restitution and undergo gambling, drug and mental health counseling.
Before being sentenced, D'Amico told U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman that he was a changed man, devoted to his family.
"The person that did the things that led us here no longer exists," D'Amico said.
He had pleaded guilty before Hillman in Camden in November to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. An indictment unsealed in January 2020 charged D'Amico with a total of 16 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He had already pleaded guilty to charges in state court last year.
D'Amico, his girlfriend Katelyn McClure and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. came up with a feel-good story about how the vet gave $20 to help McClure after she ran out of gas in Philadelphia.
The story initially captured the hearts of people around the world and they used the lie to raise $400,000 in online donations during the holidays in late 2017 and early 2018.
Since then, the trio has been at the center of a Hulu documentary produced by the 6abc investigative team, called "No Good Deed, A Crowdfunding Holiday Heist."
The documentary features interviews with D'Amico, McClure and Bobbitt before the world found out the truth.
Their story started to unravel after the veteran sued the couple, accusing them of not giving him the money.
Court documents revealed that almost no part of their story was true and that the couple spent large chunks of the money in a matter of months on lavish casino trips and a BMW.
McClure and Bobbitt previously pleaded guilty to state and federal charges.
Bobbitt was sentenced to five years' probation on state charges in 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.