Homeless Man, New Jersey Woman Plead Guilty in GoFundMe Scam

Kate McClure, a New Jersey woman, has raised more than $200,000 for a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr, in Philadelphia, who previously bought her gasoline when she unexpectedly ran out.

A homeless man and a woman from New Jersey pleaded guilty to two different charges in federal court on Wednesday for orchestrating a GoFundMe scam that conned unsuspecting donors out of $400,000.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 36, the homeless man who was supposed to receive the donations, and the woman who created the account, Kate McClure, 28, pleaded guilty to multiple charges at a Camden, New Jersey, federal courthouse on Wednesday.

Bobbitt pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, while McClure pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, NJ.com reported.

Shortly after McClure entered her guilty plea, the judge released her on $100,000 bond and ordered her to surrender her passport.

Bobbitt, McClure, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, made headlines in November 2017 after McClure and D’Amico started a GoFundMe campaign for $10,000 to help Bobbitt get through the winter–a thank you gesture for giving them his last $20 to buy gasoline.

The campaign went so viral that it surpassed its $10,000 goal and raised more than $400,000.

But the story went south after plans to disperse the money went downhill and Bobbitt sued the couple. The homeless man, through his attorney, claimed the couple mismanaged the money by pocketing the funds meant for him.

Prosecutors then discovered that McClure and D’Amico made up the tale and conspired with Bobbitt to create the campaign and the false story about the gas money.

GoFundMe issued full refunds to the 14,000 donors who took part in the $400,000 campaign after prosecutors announced that McClure, D’Amico, and Bobbitt would face criminal charges.

If convicted of the charges, Bobbitt could face up to ten years behind bars, while McClure could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years. D’Amico has not been charged with a federal crime, but he faces charges at the state level.

McClure and Bobbitt also have state-level charges with which to contend, but Burlington County prosecutors said their guilty plea in federal court would not affect their cases at the state level.

“Today’s plea agreements do not affect our case against Bobbitt, McClure or D’Amico, all of whom remain answerable to the state charges that have been filed against them,” Joel Bewley, the Burlington County prosecutor’s spokesman, said in a statement.


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