Do you recall the sweet and heartwarming video that got viral where a woman was stranded in the middle of nowhere, then a stranger, a homeless person unselfishly spent his last $20 to help her out? As heartwarming as it was, it goes deeper than most people would have wanted.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just a few weeks earlier, the homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. pleaded guilty on the charge of conspiracy to commit theft by deception. It was his involvement to the GoFundMe campaign for the ‘supposedly good Samaritan’ homeless veteran that helped the lady with her difficult situation.
It all started when Katelyn McClure, 29 set up an inspiring video that went viral for some time. With people around the globe expressing their sympathy and empathy towards the veteran, Katelyn then announced she would be setting up a GoFundMe campaign to help her rescuer get on his feet. Little did we know; it was all just a scam.
McClure pleaded guilty on the same charge that was given to Johnny Bobbitt Jr. Though the charges are very much the same, she is facing a heavier sentence, from 5 years in prison up to 20 years and a fine of $250,000. The sentencing is said to start this coming June 19, 2019.
Bobbitt Jr., the homeless veteran is facing a 5-year probation and could lead up to 10 years in prison and also a fine of $250,000. His sentencing is said to come at a much later date.
The scam was brought to life by the veteran himself when he sued the couples Katelyn McClure and Mark D’Amico. Since Katelyn McClure already pleaded guilty and D’Amico didn’t, D’Amico is not currently facing any federal charges. Both McClure and Bobbitt are agreeable however on testifying against him, so there will be a sentence hearing at a later date. The case is still yet to be presented at Burlington County next month.
Adding more spice to the unfortunate circumstance, McClure’s lawyer said that it was D’Amico who was the real perpetrator on the said scam, stating,
“We’ve indicated throughout it’s my view that Mr. D’Amico is the real agent provocateur in this matter,”
McClure’s lawyer then tried adding compassion to his client’s predicament saying,
“Kate has been strong. She’s devastated by this and has been, but we look to the sentencings in federal and state courts and hopefully we can find sufficient evidence to convince both judges of her role and the fact that throughout this she started out with benign motive, her hope to help Johnny Bobbitt and not to enrich herself or anyone else,”
He also added that her client did try to stop the GoFundMe page, but her former boyfriend wouldn’t let her. Considering all that she went through after she got the ‘GoFundMe funds’, and yes we’re talking about the lavish vacations and the new BMW, it’s kind of hard to trust any comments or statements that come from her.
With the GoFundMe’s involvement in the case, a spokesperson addressed it with a statement that reads,
“It’s important to understand that misuse is very rare on our platform, – Campaigns with misuse make up less than one tenth of one percent of all campaigns. We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior. If fraud occurs, donors get refunded and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money.”
Both McClure and Bobbitt are compelled to pay back all the money that the GoFundMe has refunded to thousands of people. They don’t see any other way around this, due to the fact that his is part of their court plea deals.