Two admit $600,000 GoFundMe hoax about homeless man

Two admit $600,000 GoFundMe hoax about homeless man

Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless man charged with engaging in a GoFundMe scheme, pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden, N.J., on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The charge that Bobbitt pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Bobbitt conspired with McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D'Amico to make up a story in 2017 about Bobbitt giving McClure cash for gas when she was stranded along a Philadelphia highway, according to prosecutors. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bobbitt accused McClure and D'Amico of keeping most of the fundraised money and using it for a new vehicle, vacations and gambling.

The GoFundMe account received national attention in 2017, and the couple made appearances on television to promote their feel-good story.

But the story wasn't true, authorities said, as McClure and Bobbitt pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges. After the story went viral, approximately $400,000 was donated from more than 14,000 donors in just a matter of weeks, officials said.

Bobbitt, McClure and D'Amico garnered worldwide attention in 2017, when the couple launched the GoFundMe to help get Bobbitt off the streets of Philadelphia.

Investigators initially searched the Florence, New Jersey home of D'Amico and McClure last September after questions arose about what happened to the money they raised for Bobbitt.

Bobbitt and the couple raised $400,000, which authorities said was spent on luxury items and casino trips.

Gerrow, a former state prosecutor in Burlington County himself, said he did not understand why the prosecutor's office has not dropped charges against his client following the federal plea.

The scheme began to unravel this summer when Bobbitt complained to the media about the couple not providing him with the money.

McClure was being paid around $43,000 per year for the role she started in 2014, reports Bobbitt faces up to 10 years in prison, and McClure faces 20 years, CBS Philadelphia reported. D'Amico has not now been charged with federal crimes. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2019. But all three - McClure, D'Amico and Bobbitt - are facing local charges of second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.

He'll also appear in Mount Holly court Friday on the state charges.

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