A person accused of being the ringleader in a fundraising hoax which raised greater than $400,000 (£306,000) has pleaded not responsible.

US prosecutors say Mark D’Amico, 40, made up a narrative a couple of homeless man giving his girlfriend his final $20 to rescue her from the aspect of a highway in Philadelphia after she ran out of gas.

Johnny Bobbitt, Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico face charges of theft by deception
Picture: Mark D’Amico (proper) is accused of conspiring with McClure and Bobbitt

The story went viral in late 2017 and made worldwide headlines, with the couple giving newspaper and tv interviews.

A GoFundMe web page, entitled Paying It Ahead, was created to assist Johnny Bobbitt get off the streets.

It set a aim of $10,000 (£7,600) however raised 40 instances extra in lower than three weeks.

Nonetheless, it was all a hoax stated to have plotted by the previous couple and Bobbitt.

Authorities started investigating after Bobbitt sued the pair, accusing them of not giving him the cash.

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Bobbitt after the story went national. Pic: Twitter/Katelyn McClure
Picture: Johnny Bobbitt after the story went viral. Pic: Twitter/Katelyn McClure

A federal legal grievance alleges D’Amico and Katelyn McClure spent a lot of the money by March 2018, on a BMW automobile and journeys to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.

McClure and Bobbitt pleaded responsible over the rip-off in March final yr..

D’Amico appeared in court docket in Camden, New Jersey, on Thursday over 16 federal costs of conspiracy, wire fraud and cash laundering.

His not responsible plea was submitted by his lawyer.

Final month nonetheless, he pleaded responsible in a state court docket to misapplication of entrusted property and can serve a five-year time period beneath an settlement with prosecutors.

GoFundMe refunded all donations.