A homeless man charged with engaging in a GoFundMe scheme that turned out to be a scam has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in federal court. Johnny Bobbitt entered the plea on Wednesday in US district court in Camden, New Jersey.
Bobbitt and co-defendants Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure face charges in Burlington county, New Jersey.
According to NBC News, Bobbit faces up to 10 years in prison and McClure faces up to 20 years.
Prosecutors say Bobbitt conspired with McClure and her then boyfriend D’Amico to concoct a story about Bobbitt giving McClure his last $20 for gas when she was stranded along the highway. She then set up an online fundraising page, claiming she wanted to thank him.
At an earlier hearing county prosecutor Scott Coffina said: “The entire campaign was predicated on a lie. It was fictitious and illegal – and there are consequences.”
Prosecutors say the feelgood tale that made international headlines in 2017 was predicated on a false story Bobbitt and the couple raised $400,000, which authorities say was spent on luxury items and casino trips.
GoFundMe says it has refunded everyone who contributed to the campaign.
Bobbitt was arrested last November by US marshals in Philadelphia.
D’Amico and McClure surrendered to authorities shortly after, and all were charged with theft by deception.
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.
Coffina said almost no part of the tale was true. McClure didn’t run out of gas. Bobbitt didn’t spot her in trouble and give her money.
Prosecutors began investigating after Bobbitt claimed he wasn’t getting the money that had been raised on his behalf. He later sued the couple.
It’s still not known where all the money ended up.