New Jersey

Homeless Veteran Accused in GoFundMe Scam Taken into Custody, Day After Missing Court Date

What to Know

  • Rep. Ron Dancer has introduced a New Jersey bill that would tighten penalties for online crowdfunding fraud schemes.
  • Fraudsters who use crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe in their schemes would face mandatory jail time and have to pay restitution.
  • Dancer says the bill was inspired by the headline-grabbing case involving Mark D'Amico, Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt.

The homeless veteran accused in the now infamous, alleged GoFundMe scam was taken into custody Wednesday, one day after he failed to show up for court.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr. was in custody in Philadelphia, according to the Burlington County, New Jersey, Prosecutor's Office. He failed to appear Tuesday for a court appearance in New Jersey. His attorney had said he "expected him here" regarding the hearing.

A county judge then issued a warrant for his arrest.

A spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office said Bobbitt was arrested by Philadelphia police about 10:45 a.m. It is unclear where or how he was found.

"We will now begin extradition proceedings to have him returned to New Jersey," prosecutor's spokesman Joel Bewley said in an email.

Bobbitt also had failed to prove that he entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program or found a job and place to live, Burlington County Judge Mark Tarantino said at the Tuesday hearing.

Last week, New Jersey Republican Rep. Ron Dancer introduced a bill that would tighten penalties for fraud schemes like the one involving Bobbitt and a New Jersey couple who allegedly duped people into giving more than $400,000 to a GoFundMe online drive.

Convicted fraudsters who use crowdfunding sites in their schemes would face mandatory jail time and have to pay restitution under his proposal, according to the bill.

Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure set up a GoFundMe page for Bobbitt in 2017 that brought in over $400,000. They said Bobbitt was homeless and used his last $20 to help a stranded McClure.

The pair and Bobbitt face charges including theft by deception. GoFundMe said it refunded everyone who contributed.

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