Homeless 'good Samaritan' gets probation in GoFundMe scam

Cheryl Sanders
April 14, 2019

Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless veteran once hailed a good Samaritan only to be revealed as a co-conspirator in a $400,000 GoFundMe scheme, was sentenced Friday to a five year special term in drug court.

Bobbitt pleaded guilty last month to a federal money laundering conspiracy charge. 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.

Prosecutors contend Bobbitt, McClure and McClure's then-boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, made up a story in 2017 about Bobbitt giving $20 to help McClure when her vehicle ran out of gas.

Burlington County, N.J. Superior Court Judge Christopher Garrenger said the probation is administered by the drug court, a judicially supervised court docket handling cases of non-violent substance-abusing offenders.

GoFundMe has since refunded the donations.

"The gravity of this crime is that it rocks the very foundation of people's confidence in charitable fundraising campaigns, particularly those on line", said Assistant Burlington County Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell.

Authorities began investigating a year ago after Bobbitt sued the couple for allegedly not giving him the money. Bobbitt claimed that while the couple lived a lavish lifestyle with the latest phones and top-brand bags and sunglasses, he lived in a trailer on their driveway.

The couple claimed the cash would be donated to Bobbitt, but New Jersey authorities said the three split the money and spent lavishly, including on a BMW, designer bags, and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Johnny Bobbitt, whose story of helping stranded motorist Kate McClure went viral, on August 15, 2018.

McClure, 28, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

A sentencing date has not yet been set for either Bobbitt or McClure on those federal charges. Instead, McClure and D'Amico spent the money on lavish trips, a auto and designer handbags.

They created a campaign that quickly went viral and donations poured in. They bought Bobbitt a camper, and he lived in it for a time on a property McClure's family owned in Florence Township.

He appeared in various media interviews, repeating the story.

McClure and D'Amico, who are no longer together, have been charged in Burlington County as well.

Following the sentencing, Coffina issued a statement saying Bobbitt was an "instrumental" part of the scam who "admittedly promoted and perpetuated the false narrative that he had given his last $20 to his co-conspirator Kate McClure when she had run out of gas on the side of the highway, with the intent to manipulate the goodwill of others to obtain money for himself".

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