Thursday 17 October 2019

Woman and homeless man plead guilty in €345,000 'good Samaritan scam'

Katelyn McClure said she had run out of petrol (Burlington County Prosecutors Office via AP)
Katelyn McClure said she had run out of petrol (Burlington County Prosecutors Office via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A homeless man and a woman have pleaded guilty to US federal charges in a GoFundMe scheme that prosecutors say netted $400,000 dollars (€345,000) with a false story about him coming to her aid.

Johnny Bobbitt, 36, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Katelyn McClure, 28, of Bordentown, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Bobbitt conspired with McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D'Amico to make up a story in 2017 about Bobbitt giving McClure cash for petrol when she was stranded on a Philadelphia motorway, according to prosecutors.

The scheme raised 400,000 dollars, which the couple claimed would be donated to Bobbitt.

Charged: Johnny Bobbitt, left, Kate McClure, right, and Mark D’Amico
Charged: Johnny Bobbitt, left, Kate McClure, right, and Mark D’Amico

Instead, New Jersey authorities said, the three split the money and spent lavishly, including on a car, designer bags, and trips to Las Vegas, Disneyland, Disney World, the Grand Canyon and New York City.

GoFundMe said it has refunded all the donations.

The tale of a homeless good Samaritan made international headlines, with the trio appearing on TV.

Their relationship soured, though, when Bobbitt sued the couple over what he said was their failure to turn money over to him.

Johnny Bobbitt sued the couple (Burlington County Prosecutors Office via AP)
Johnny Bobbitt sued the couple (Burlington County Prosecutors Office via AP)

New Jersey prosecutors said the suit led them to start an investigation, including hauling away a BMW they determined was purchased with the funds at the New Jersey home where McClure and D'Amico were living at the time.

All three still face charges in state court.

D'Amico's lawyer Mark Davis said his client denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged by federal authorities.

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