On Wednesday, the saga of the most infamous GoFundMe campaign in history came closer to a conclusion. A woman and a homeless man in the US whom prosecutors claim engaged in a fraudulent scheme that raised $400,000 (£306,000) on the crowdfunding site have pleaded guilty to federal charges.
According to the Associated Press:
Johnny Bobbitt, 36, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Katelyn McClure, 28, of Bordentown, New Jersey, pleaded 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 gas when she was stranded along a Philadelphia highway, according to prosecutors.
NBC News reports that Bobbitt could serve up to 10 years in prison, and McClure faces up to 20 years.
The GoFundMe account received national attention in 2017, and the couple made appearances on television to promote their feel-good story. For close to a year, everyone assumed that a good thing had happened, and Bobbitt might be able to change his life for the better. But late last year things became complicated when Bobbitt claimed the couple had kept the bulk of the cash. It wasn’t long before prosecutors came forward with evidence that they said showed the couple had actually worked with Bobbitt to concoct the story and split the money. GoFundMe has since issued a refund to users who contributed to the campaign.
D’Amico’s attorney told the AP “his client denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged by federal authorities.” All three participants still face state charges in New Jersey. [Associated Press]
Featured image: Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office