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December 08, 2018

GoFundMe scam’s Johnny Bobbitt seeks to enter drug court rather than face trial

Burlington County's drug court program is reserved for non-violent offenders

Trials GoFundMe
Kate McClure Johnny Kate McClure/GoFundMe

Kate McClure and Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless man who helped her after she got stranded on I-95 in Philadelphia. McClure started a crowdfunding effort that raised more than $400,000 to help the veteran get back on his feet. But now much of the money is reporting missing.

Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless military veteran who gained notoriety for allegedly helping scam donors out of more than $400,000 in a GoFundMe fundraiser, will seek to enter Burlington County drug court rather than enter a criminal trial.

Bobbitt’s defense attorney, public defender Jay Keesler, discussed the plan when Bobbitt appeared in Mount Holly Superior Court on Friday, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

The county’s drug court program, the Times noted, is reserved for non-violent offenders. Those who are accepted into the program undergo supervision and substance abuse treatment to avoid criminal penalties. They also make an admission of guilt, and agree to restitution for their crimes.

No ruling was made Friday on acceptance into or denial from the program. A pretrial detention hearing for Bobbitt is set for Dec. 11.

Bobbitt was arrested last month in Philadelphia by the U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Task Force on charges of being a fugitive from justice after Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina announced his office had determined the entire GoFundMe was a scam. Bobbitt has said he’s struggled with drug addiction in the past.

The prosecutor’s office discovered during its investigation that the trio — Bobbitt, Kate McClure, and Mark D’Amico — had known each other for about a month before the fake campaign launched. Bobbitt often hung out at an underpass near the SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown, which Coffina said D’Amico and McClure often frequented. It’s believed the couple met Bobbitt while leaving the casino, and struck up a relationship from there.

All three were charged with second-degree theft by deception, and conspiracy to commit theft by deception. The charges carry a potential prison sentence of five to 10 years.

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