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BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — Homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt pleaded guilty Friday in a Burlington County courtroom to conspiracy to commit theft by deception for his role in a GoFundMe scam. On Wednesday, Bobbitt pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bobbitt faces up to 10 years in prison on the federal charge.
Officials say Katelyn McClure and her former boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, started the fundraising campaign in 2017 after claiming that Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 to buy gas. McClure also pleaded guilty Wednesday in a federal courtroom to wire fraud conspiracy and faces up to 20 years in prison.
In state court on Friday, Bobbitt was accepted into the county’s drug court program and will be placed on special probation for up to five years while he fulfills the program’s requirements.
If he fails to comply with the conditions imposed in drug court, he will be sentenced to five years in New Jersey state prison.
According to authorities, D’Amico and McClure had known Bobbitt for at least a month before launching the GoFundMe in November 2017, and had become acquainted with Bobbitt during their frequent trips to a local gambling casino.
Officials say the investigation revealed that the couple spent the money raised through the GoFundMe on a BMW, a New Year’s trip to Las Vegas and high-end hand bags, among other items. The couple also allegedly withdrew over $85,000 in cash at casinos located in Atlantic City, Bensalem, Philadelphia and Las Vegas.
All the money had allegedly been spent within a few months of the campaign’s creation.
According to officials, Bobbitt took legal action against the couple when he learned that all the money had been squandered. He claims he received $75,000 of the funds, including an over $18,000 trailer purchased for him and parked at the couple’s Bordentown home.
State charges are still pending against McClure and D’Amico.