Mark D’Amico, the New Jersey man who scammed well-meaning GoFundMe donors out of more than $400,000 after concocting a fake feel-good story involving a homeless veteran, has pleaded guilty to a state charge against him.
On Friday, standing in Superior Court in Burlington County, D’Amico pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree misapplication of entrusted property — a charge stemming from the horrific 2017 scheme, CNN, Time and 6abc Action News reported.
“We are pleased that this defendant accepted responsibility for his role in this scam. He will be required to make full restitution to GoFundMe and the donors — the true victims in this case — Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement to CNN.
D’Amico, 39, has agreed to serve five years in prison and will officially be sentenced in April 2020, Coffina said in the statement.
Coffina did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
D’Amico is still facing federal charges, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
His attorney Mark Davis did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The failed scheme began in November 2017 when D’Amico and his girlfriend at the time Kate McClure praised homeless man Johnny Bobbitt for being a “Good Samaritan,” gushing that he spent his last $20 to help her when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia.
Moved by the story, thousands of good-hearted donors gave more than $400,000 to help Bobbitt start a new life.
But it was all a lie.
“The ‘pay it forward’ story that drove this fundraiser might seem too good to be true,” Coffina said during a news conference last fall. “Unfortunately it was.”
The three initially met at an off-ramp near a casino in Philadelphia they frequented a month before the plan was concocted and hatched, authorities said.
RELATED: Homeless Man and New Jersey Couple Allegedly Conspired Together on GoFundMe Scam: Report
The plan worked — for a time. Donations, minus the amount detracted in fees, totaled more than $367,000, which was allegedly deposited into D’Amico’s accounts. Bobbitt received $75,000 of the money, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said at the time.
“But he wanted his fair share of the take,” the prosecutor added.
That’s because McClure, 28, and D’Amico allegedly spent their share on lavish items like handbags and trips and even had plans for a book deal.
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Bobbitt, 36, then accused the couple of withholding the money, with his attorneys filing a civil suit in August on his behalf in an attempt to get the remaining funds. But by then the money was long gone.
Coffina alleged at the time that D’Amico and McClure had “squandered” the money by mid-March — about four months after setting up the GoFundMe.
GoFundMe officials refunded donations made to the fraudulent campaign.
In March, Bobbitt and McClure pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges in federal court, multiple outlets reported.
Bobbitt pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, The New York Times reported.
McClure pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, ABC News reported.
Bobbitt, a military veteran, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
McClure agreed to a serve four years in prison, according to CNN, but has not been sentenced.