Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Homeless ‘good Samaritan’ gets probation in gas money scam

Homeless ‘good Samaritan’ gets probation in gas money scam

Part of the terms of the probation sentence, which was handed down in a New Jersey court Friday, include that he attend a drug treatment program and cooperate with prosecutors in their case against his co-conspirators, according to ABC station WABC.

Johnny Bobbitt, 36, pleaded guilty in March in state court to conspiracy to commit theft by deception.

Bobbitt must complete a special drug court probation for five years, and if he doesn't complete it, he will have to go to prison.

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

Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina released a statement acknowledging that Bobbitt "was an instrumental part of the fraudulent campaign; indeed he was the face of it". GoFundMe has since made refunds to thousands of people who donated, thinking they were giving to Bobbitt.

More than 14,000 big-hearted donors opened their wallets, raising Bobbitt $400,000. McClure and D'Amico allegedly used the money to buy a BMW and take expensive vacations.

"This is an opportunity that you should take advantage of", Garrenger said. Bobbitt, who was homeless at the time, exposed the couple's fraud when he filed a lawsuit against McClure and D'Amico in August, arguing they withheld funds and never cut him in on the deal.

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In addition to the state plea, Bobbitt pleaded guilty last month in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

(Burlington County Prosecutors office/AP) This November 2018 combination of photos provided by the Burlington County Prosecutors office shows Johnny Bobbitt, from left, Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico. They said Bobbitt's share was $25,000, some of which he spent on drugs. Any infractions could bring him a five-year prison sentence, according to Burlington County Prosecutor spokesman Joel Bewley. "He 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".

A sentencing date has not yet been set for either Bobbitt or McClure on those federal charges. McClure and Bobbitt pleaded guilty to federal charges and await sentencing.

"The paying-it-forward story that drove this fundraiser might seem too good to be true", Coffina said then."Unfortunately, it was".

She was also charged in state court with theft and conspiracy but has not yet been indicted, as per NBC.

D'Amico doesn't face any federal charges.

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