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Homeless man who participated in GoFundMe scam sentenced to 5 years' probation


Johnny Bobbitt Jr. admitted his role in the tale that drew more than $400,000 in donations

Image source: WCAU-TV video screenshot

A homeless Philadelphia man, who helped a New Jersey couple fabricate a heartwarming story on GoFundMe that drew in more than $400,000 in donations, was sentenced on Friday to five years of drug court probation, KYW-TV reported.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr. pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit theft by deception in a New Jersey state court. As part of his plea deal, the 36-year-old was immediately transferred from the courtroom in Mount Holly, New Jersey, to an inpatient drug treatment facility following his sentencing. He's also expected to testify against Kate McClure and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico, who were allegedly part of the scam.

If Bobbitt doesn't complete the program or if he violates probation, he will serve additional jail time, the judge said. He received 102 days credit for jail time served.

What's the backstory?

McClure and D'Amico claimed that Bobbitt had given up his last $20 to help McClure when she ran out of gas on the side of Philadelphia freeway on Thanksgiving night in 2017.

They created a campaign that quickly went viral and donations poured in. The trio might have gotten away with the scam if Bobbitt hadn't filed a lawsuit last summer against the couple for allegedly cutting him off from his money.

As it turned out, McClure and D'Amico had met Bobbitt at a casino about a month earlier and together they concocted the "fake feel-good story to compel donors to contribute to their cause," according to prosecutors.

The couple allegedly blew most of the money on lavish trips, expensive shopping trips, and a new BMW, among other things, according to prosecutors.

What happened to McClure and D'Amico?

Last month, McClure pleaded guilty to one federal charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud. She's facing up to 20 years in prison for the charge, WCAU-TV reported.

McClure and D'Amico were each charged on the state level with theft and conspiracy.

D'Amico wasn't charged with a federal crime, and has denied any wrongdoing.

What else?

Bobbitt also pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a federal court, according to WCAU. A sentencing date is not yet scheduled.

GoFundMe has since refunded all the money donated to the campaign.

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