Homeless man and the woman in viral good Samaritan story plead guilty to federal charges
By Janet DiGiacomo and Madison Park
March 6, 2019
(CNN)It was a feel-good story that got people to open their wallets and donate.
The premise of the story that went viral in 2017 was that New Jersey resident Kate McClure ran out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia and a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., gave her his last $20 while she was stranded. In return, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt, saying they wanted to pay it forward to the good Samaritan and get him off the streets. But the story wasn't true, authorities said, as McClure and Bobbitt pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges.
"In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her," according to a US Attorney's Office press release. "D'Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors."
McClure, 28, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She will be sentenced on June 19.
Bobbitt, 36, could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will be sentenced at a later date.
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