Homeless 'good Samaritan' gets probation in gas money scam

Philadelphia homeless man at center of viral GoFundMe scam gets five years probation

Philadelphia homeless man at center of viral GoFundMe scam gets five years probation

The homeless veteran who has admitted conspiring with a New Jersey couple in a $400,000 GoFundMe scam was sentenced to five years' probation as part of a plea deal with prosecutors on Friday. As part of his plea deal, the 36-year-old was immediately transferred from the courtroom in Mount Holly, New Jersey, to an inpatient drug treatment facility following his sentencing.

Investigators then looked into the case, prompting authorities to arrest all three of them in November on charges of theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.

Bobbitt, along with Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico, gained worldwide attention in late 2017 when their GoFundMe campaign went viral.

"That said, there is no denying that Johnny Bobbitt has struggled with addiction, and that his addiction was a factor in his criminal conduct..." They also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the homeless man, saying they wanted to pay it forward to the good Samaritan and get him off the streets.

"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.

According to prosecutors the couple was going through a hard financial time when they concocted the false story. They said Bobbitt's share was $25,000, some of which he spent on drugs. But it was all a scam, Burlington County prosecutors said, meant to enrich the three co-conspirators.

In March, McClure pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 19. She's facing up to 20 years in prison for the charge, WCAU-TV reported. He will be sentenced on the federal charge at a later date.

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"He has taken responsibility for this and is willing to cooperate against his co-defendants", said public defender John Keesler. This sentence affords him the chance to turn his life around.

CNN reached out to Bobbitt's attorney for comment, but has not heard back. It claimed McClure had run out of gas while driving into Philadelphia on I-95, and Bobbitt had come to her rescue, using his last $20 to buy her gas.

That lawsuit invited a search warrant, a deposition and an investigation into their campaign, which uncovered the alleged conspiracy.

GoFundMe has since refunded the donations.

D'Amico was also charged in state court with theft and conspiracy but does not face federal charges. He and McClure were charged last fall in state court with theft and conspiracy.

Bobbitt must go through a long-term, in-patient drug program followed by special probation, Superior Court Judge Christopher Garrenger ruled during a hearing in Burlington County.

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