A Philadelphia man who pleaded responsible to conspiring with a New Jersey couple on a bogus feel-good story of serving to a motorist in misery that garnered greater than $400,000 in on-line donations has been sentenced to a few years’ probation.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 39, who beforehand pleaded responsible to conspiracy to commit cash laundering, was additionally ordered Monday in federal courtroom in New Jersey to pay $25,000 in restitution. He earlier was sentenced to 5 years’ probation after pleading responsible in 2019 to state expenses of conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
Prosecutors stated Bobbitt aided Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure in a feel-good story in late 2017 concerning the homeless veteran giving his final $20 to assist McClure when her automobile ran out of fuel on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. The three performed newspaper and tv interviews and solicited donations, ostensibly to assist Bobbitt, by means of a GoFundMe marketing campaign they named “Paying It Forward,” prosecutors stated.
The marketing campaign raised greater than $400,000 from about 14,000 donors in a couple of month and on the time was the most important fraud perpetrated by means of the crowdfunding platform, in keeping with the prosecutor’s workplace in Burlington County, New Jersey.
Authorities started investigating after Bobbitt sued the couple, accusing them of not giving him the cash. They ultimately decided that all the cash was spent by March 2018, with massive chunks spent by McClure and D’Amico on a leisure automobile, a BMW and journeys to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.
D’Amico pleaded responsible in December 2019 and was sentenced in August to 5 years in state jail, a time period operating concurrent to an earlier time period imposed on separate federal expenses. McClure was sentenced to a yr on federal expenses and is awaiting sentencing on state expenses. Each have been ordered to completely reimburse GoFundMe.