Homeless vet in alleged GoFundMe scam released on bail

In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., (left), Kate McClure, (right), and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia.  McClure and D'Amico, who raised more than $400,000 for Bobbitt Jr., a homeless man after he used his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia must now turn over what’s left of the cash. A New Jersey judge issued the order Thursday, Aug. 30,  during a hearing on the lawsuit brought by Bobbitt, who worries D'Amico and McClure have mismanaged a large part of the donations raised for him on GoFundMe. The couple deny those claims, saying they're wary of giving Bobbitt large sums because they fear he would buy drugs. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., (left), Kate McClure, (right), and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. McClure and D'Amico, who raised more than $400,000 for Bobbitt Jr., a homeless man after he used his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia must now turn over what’s left of the cash. A New Jersey judge issued the order Thursday, Aug. 30, during a hearing on the lawsuit brought by Bobbitt, who worries D'Amico and McClure have mismanaged a large part of the donations raised for him on GoFundMe. The couple deny those claims, saying they're wary of giving Bobbitt large sums because they fear he would buy drugs. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A judge ruled a homeless veteran from Philadelphia who allegedly schemed with a New Jersey couple to scam GoFundMe donors out of more than $400,000 can be released from jail pending trial.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed at a court hearing Friday that Johnny Bobbitt will be released and live in his apartment in Philadelphia, subject to electronic monitoring.

NJ.com reported Bobbitt also will be required to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

“I’m happy he’s out. He’s happy to be out,” Bobbitt’s lawyer, John Keesler, told reporters.

Burlington County prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint that Bobbitt conspired with Katelyn McClure and her former boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, to concoct a feel-good story about Bobbitt giving McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas.

They raised $400,000, which authorities say was spent on luxury items and casino trips.

All three face conspiracy and theft charges.

Through her attorney, McClure claimed last month that she was duped by D’Amico and genuinely thought she was helping Bobbitt. D’Amico’s lawyer has denied the claims.

But prosecutors released texts from McClure including one sent less than an hour after the couple set up the GoFundMe page where she allegedly wrote to a friend that the “gas part is completely made up” and to “shush about the made-up stuff.”

Prosecutors began investigating last summer after Bobbitt claimed he wasn’t getting the money that had been raised on his behalf. He later sued the couple.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.