The man at the centre of the bizarre GoFundMe campaign conspiracy, which grifted $US400,000 ($560,860) out of armchair Good Samaritans, was sentenced on Friday to five years of probation.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr. became famous overnight in October 2017, when Kate McClure started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for him. McClure claimed that Bobbitt used his last $20 to buy her petrol when she ran out on an interstate in New Jersey. The campaign went viral and McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico made several TV appearances.
But the story was a lie. “In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her,” reads a press statement from US Attorney’s Office. “D’Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors.”
McClure and D’Amico used the money to pay for holidays and a BMW. Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina told reporters in November 2018 that Bobbitt received about $US75,000 ($105,161) from the campaign.
McClure and Bobbitt both pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the conspiracy in March. Under Bobbitt’s sentencing, he will have to attend a drug-treatment program and work towards getting a job, according to CNN.
“This is an opportunity that you should take advantage of,” Judge Christopher Garrenger told Bobbitt, reports NJ.com. “We want you to be a success in our drug court program.”
Bobbitt also agreed in a plea deal to testify against McClure and D’Amico.
According to CNN, McClure could face a $US250,000 ($350,538) fine and 20 years in prison. D’Amico could face the same fine and 10 years in prison. Both have yet to be charged.