CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A Philadelphia man pleaded guilty to a false feel-good story that he conspired with a New Jersey couple to raise more than $400,000 online in donations to help distressed motorists. was sentenced to three years of probation.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 39, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money, was ordered to pay $25,000 in damages in federal court in New Jersey on Monday. After pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit theft by deception in 2019, he was sentenced to five years’ probation.
Prosecutor says Bobbitt helped Mark D’Amico and Kaitlyn McClure In a feel-good story in late 2017, a homeless veteran donated his last $20 to help McClure when his car ran out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. The three gave newspaper and television interviews and solicited donations, ostensibly to support Bobbitt.
The campaign raised more than $400,000 from nearly 14,000 donors in about a month, making it the largest scam ever conducted through a crowdfunding platform at the time, according to the Burlington County, New Jersey Attorney’s Office.
Authorities launched an investigation after Bobbitt sued the couple for not handing over the money. They finally determined that all the money had been spent by his March 2018, with McClure and D’Amico spending most of it on campervans, BMWs, and trips to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.
D’Amico pleaded guilty in December 2019 and was sentenced to five years in state prison in August. McClure said he was sentenced to a year in prison for federal crimes and is awaiting sentencing for state crimes. Both have been ordered to repay her GoFundMe in full.
https://wgntv.com/news/homeless-good-samaritan-gets-probation-in-gas-money-scam/ Homeless ‘Good Samaritan’ gets probation for gas money fraud