Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless veteran, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit theft by deception in New Jersey State court. He was caught helping a New Jersey couple swindle people out of over $400,000 via the crowdfunding app GoFundMe.
Bobbitt Jr., 36, assisted Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico in creating a sob story in which Bobbitt Jr. voluntarily purchased gas for McClure after her car ran out of fuel.
McClure wrote in the original viral post:
“I repaid him for the gas, gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dollars every time I see him.”
Things got weird when Bobbitt filed a lawsuit last August against the couple for withholding funds from the campaign.
The public feud led to a deeper investigation, in which authorities uncovered financial trouble in McClure and D’Amico’s past, leading them to concoct the scheme with Bobbitt, Jr. to solve all three of their financial problems.
People using a homeless veteran for their own gain.
Hey @gofundme don't you have a guarantee that if money is misused, donors get refunds? Haven't people like Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure, and Mark Damico for fraudulently using money they collected from a GFM campaign? 🤔— Boaty McBoatPotato (@InnocentTater) January 11, 2019
#HomelessMan conspired with couple who raised $400,000 on #GoFundMe - #DailyMail 👈🏿 😞 “...#McClure, #DAmico & #Bobbitt will all face charges including conspiracy & theft by deception.” https://t.co/woCiWsGr7u— MetalRabbit13 (@MetalRabbit13) November 15, 2018
Great story and my blood is boiling!! Is any law enforcement investigating? Kate Mcclure and her classy boyfriend Damico should go to jail!!!— Patrick Smith (@Patrick73231917) August 24, 2018
Bobbitt Jr., as a part of the scam, was sentenced to five years of probation and a short stay in an inpatient rehabilitation center.
Not-so-good Samaritan Johnny Bobbitt Jr. gets 5-year Drug Court probationary term, including long-term in-patient treatment,for his role in GoFundMe scam. Would face 5-year prison term, 18 months w/o parole eligibility, if he violates probation pic.twitter.com/EtoViVmppP— jim walsh (@jimwalsh_cp) April 12, 2019
Homeless veteran in GoFundMe scam gets 5 years probation: As part of his plea deal, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. agreed to enter a drug treatment program. https://t.co/Qr0U2Obwm2— Kona Nature Tours (@KonaNatureTours) April 12, 2019
Johnny Bobbitt Jr. is expected to cooperate with the prosecution of his alleged accomplices. https://t.co/lVirOERix4— Delaware Online (@delawareonline) April 13, 2019
Johnny Bobbitt Jr, the homeless vet charged with conspiring with a New Jersey couple to devise a GoFundMe scam, was sentenced to five years probation https://t.co/n5rWyEKAR7— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 13, 2019
Good that these three got caught.— kyle yoakum (@KyleYoakum) April 13, 2019
Johnny Bobbitt Jr is about to be sentenced in $400K GoFundMe scam in a Burlington County court. Faces 5 hrs probation as per his plea agreement.— Jan Hefler (@JanHefler) April 12, 2019
From here, he is expected to fully cooperate in the prosecution of D’Amico and McClure.
“Mr. Bobbitt was an instrumental part of the fraudulent campaign; indeed he was the face of it,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement, according to NBC News.
“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.”
In the New Jersey scam, Katelynn McClure and the homeless veteran she was "helping," Johnny Bobbitt Jr., have now pleaded guilty to federal charges. Watch @stephgosk on @NBCNightlyNews tonight for more. https://t.co/TYSLuCgSZS— NBC Investigations (@NBCInvestigates) April 8, 2019
Johnny Bobbitt Jr, the homeless vet charged with conspiring with a New Jersey couple to devise a GoFundMe scam, was sentenced to five years probation https://t.co/n5rWyEKAR7— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 12, 2019
Johnny Bobbitt Jr, the homeless veteran who was charged with conspiring with a New Jersey couple to devise a viral GoFundMe scam around him giving his last $20 to help a woman with car trouble, was sentenced Friday to five years probation.— Mary Ann Georgantopoulos (@marygeorgant) April 12, 2019
GoFundMe’s CEO, Rob Solomon, said the company has implemented safeguards in cases like this where the money may not be going to the people who set up the account.
“We wouldn’t let the money leave the building until we could figure out how to get the flow of funds to the beneficiary.”
GoFundMe has since refunded users’ donations.