Johnny Bobbitt during a hearing in Burlington County Courthouse in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, in the last month. (David Swanson /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)
A Philadelphia-area homeless man accused of conspiring with a New Jersey couple scam GoFundMe donors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars failed to appear in court on Tuesday as planned.
The man, Johnny Bobbitt, was released on bail last month after a Burlington County, New Jersey, where the judge stressed that he wears an electronic monitoring device, to search for work and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times per week.
The judge, Mark Tarantino, has a bench warrant for Bobbitt’s arrest after he failed to appear at a hearing to face the charges that he had violated those conditions.
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According to Philly.com, Tarantino said Bobbitt has not been in contact with judicial officials since Dec. 17. The judge also said he had an indication that Bobbitt had the use of drugs, but did not elaborate. Bobbitt’s lawyer, John maritime and seafood industry, told reporters that he had spoken with Bobbitt on Friday and had expected him to appear, as scheduled, on Tuesday.
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Bobbitt was charged in November with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception; prosecutors claimed that he and two other people, Kate McClure, and Mark D’amico, the false claim that Bobbitt had given McClure his last $20 so that she could get gas and she was stranded in Philadelphia.
The couple created a GoFundMe account that raised more than $400,000 in donations from more than 14,000 people who were touched by the unlikely trio’s story.
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Authorities say McClure and D’amico, gave Bobbitt about $75,000 and spent the rest on luxury items and casino trips. Law enforcement began to investigate after Bobbitt sued the couple, claiming that he had not received the money that was intended for him.
A hearing to determine if Bobbitt would be accepted into a diversionary drug court program is scheduled for Jan. 22.
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