Homeless ‘good Samaritan’ gets probation in gas money scam

Johnny Bobbitt left looks on as his attorney John Keesler and Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell right talk while appearing before Superior Court Judge Christopher Garrenger at the Burlington County Courthous

Homeless veteran who lied in viral $400K GoFundMe scam learns sentence today in N.J. court

A homeless Philadelphia man who was found guilty of helping to scam GoFundMe donors out of almost $400,000 was sentenced for conspiracy to commit theft by deception in New Jersey on Friday.

Bobbitt went public with his claims that he didn't get his cut of the donations, which led to an investigation by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

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

Coffina said in Friday's statement that "there is no denying that Johnny Bobbitt has struggled with addiction, and that his addiction was a factor in his criminal conduct", and that the sentence of probation and treatment - with the certainty of jail time if he doesn't comply - is appropriate.

Bobbitt, donning an orange jumpsuit, declined to comment in court on the matter when asked by the judge, telling him, "No, sir".

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In November 2017, Kate McClure and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico, created a GoFundMe account they said would help Bobbitt after he gave McClure his last $20 when her auto ran out of gas on a Philadelphia freeway.

GoFundMe has since refunded all the money donated to the campaign.

About 14,000 people donated nearly $403,000 to the GoFundMe page, falling for the story.

Prosecutors contend a GoFundMe campaign ostensibly set up to help Bobbitt was a lie meant to enrich all three. "It was fictitious and illegal and there are consequences".

The probationary terms for Friday's sentencing in Burlington County require him to enter the state Superior Court drug court program, in which he'll be expected to get a job and adhere to a structured regimen of treatment and recovery services.

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"This did not have to happen", McDonnell said. "This was a horrendous event and is deplorable behavior on the part of Mr. Bobbitt, Mr. D'Amico and Ms. McClure".

"This is an opportunity that you should take advantage of", said Garrenger.

That was days after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, an offense for which he has yet to be sentenced. D'Amico, McClure's boyfriend at the time, was charged with her last fall by state prosecutors but have yet to be indicted. This sentence affords him the chance to turn his life around.

In the plea deal, Bobbitt agreed to testify against his believed co-conspirators McClure and D'Amico. A New Jersey judge said Bobbitt will serve five years in state prison if he violates probation.

In March, McClure pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud. He will be sentenced on the federal charge at a later date.

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

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