Homeless man who took part in GoFundMe scheme sentenced to probation

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A Philadelphia homeless man who conspired with a New Jersey couple to create a GoFundMe scheme that raised more than $400,000 was sentenced Friday to five years of probation and agreed to enter a drug treatment program.

Bobbitt pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and federal money laundering, the latter for which he hasn't yet been sentenced.

Bobbitt's in-patient drug program, a condition of his drug court sentencing, is expected to last between three and nine months.

Mark D'Amico and then-girlfriend Kate McClure, along with Bobbitt, first made headlines in 2017 when McClure claimed online that her vehicle ran out of gas on the side of a road in Philadelphia and Bobbitt gave her his last $20 to fuel up. More than 14,000 donated to help Bobbitt, who was homeless at the time, and raised almost $403,000 to help him.

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McClure is set to be in court in Burlington County on Monday April 15.

GoFundMe has since refunded the donations.

The story went viral, but it soon fell apart when Bobbitt filed a lawsuit last August against McClure and D'Amico claiming that they were withholding funds from the GoFundMe.

"This is an opportunity that you should take advantage of", said Garrenger.

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Prosecutors contend a GoFundMe campaign ostensibly set up to help Bobbitt was a lie meant to enrich all three.

Prosecutors contend Bobbitt, McClure and McClure's then-boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, made up the story in 2017 and even faked photos of themselves standing on the street at the scene of the purported exchange.

The fraud didn't stop with the GoFundMe page, according to prosecutors. He, along with McClure and D'Amico, were accused of burning through the money in just months.

Bobbitt made no statement in court Friday as he accepted the five years of probation sentence. "He admittedly promoted and perpetuated the false narrative that he had given his last $20 to his co-conspirator Kate McClure when she had run out of gas on the side of the highway, with the intent to manipulate the goodwill of others to obtain money for himself". McClure pleaded guilty to one federal count of wire fraud conspiracy. But McClure and D'Amico are facing local charges of second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception. Any infractions could bring him a five-year prison sentence, according to Burlington County Prosecutor spokesman Joel Bewley.

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D'Amico doesn't face any federal charges but was also charged in state court with theft and conspiracy and is also yet to be indicted. "We wish him well in the program", Coffina said. The following month, McClure and D'Amico deposited $25,000 of the proceeds into Bobbitt's account, authorities said.

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