Homeless veteran, woman behind GoFundMe scandal plead guilty in federal court

Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D'Amico and Kate Mc Clure

Enlarge Image Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D'Amico and Kate Mc Clure AP

A homeless man charged with engaging in a GoFundMe scheme that turned out to be a scam has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in federal court.

Bobbitt, 36, could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The trio allegedly devised a heartwarming account in which they claimed Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 for gas after she became stranded on the highway.

"In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her", according to a US Attorney's Office press release.

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Prosecutors say the feelgood tale that made global headlines in 2017 was predicated on a false story Bobbitt and the couple raised $400,000, which authorities say was spent on luxury items and casino trips.

In November 2017, McClure and D'Amico allegedly created a page on GoFundMe's website detailing how Bobbitt acted as a "good Samaritan" and rescued McClure. After the story went viral, approximately $400,000 was donated from more than 14,000 donors in just a matter of weeks, officials said.

D'Amico is facing criminal charges of trespass following the breakdown of his relationship with McClure, the BBC said.

It wasn't long before prosecutors came forward with evidence that they said showed the couple had actually worked with Bobbitt to concoct the story and split the money.

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McClure transferred $25,000 from her bank account to Bobbitt's in December 2017, federal prosecutors said.

Their tale inspired thousands, but things began to unravel when Bobbitt accused McClure and D'Amico of stiffing him out of the money, causing an investigation to be launched.

McClure claimed in court that she met Bobbitt through D'Amico, who she says hatched the entire scam, including posting the story to GoFundMe, the Burlington County Times reported.

McClure and D'Amico are now free on bail while they await trial.

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McClure is facing 33 months in prison, while Bobbitt could face a custodial term of between six and 30 months, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bobbitt faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, authorities said. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2019. Bobbitt's sentencing has yet to be scheduled, but he is expected to appear in Drug Court in Burlington County Friday.

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