Homeless man accused of role in GoFundMe scam misses court date

A Philadelphia-area homeless man accused of conspiring with a New Jersey couple to scam GoFundMe donors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars failed to appear in court on Tuesday as scheduled.

The man, Johnny Bobbitt,  was released on bail last month after a Burlington County, New Jersey, judge insisted that he wear an electronic monitoring device, seek employment and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times a week.

The judge, Mark Tarantino, issued a bench warrant for Bobbitt's arrest after he failed to appear at a hearing to face charges that he had violated those conditions.

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According to Philly.com, Tarantino said Bobbitt has not been in contact with court officials since Dec. 17. The judge also said he had an indication that Bobbitt had been using drugs, but did not elaborate. Bobbitt's attorney, John Keesler, told reporters that he had talked 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 alleged that he and two other people, Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico, made the false claim that Bobbitt had given McClure his last $20 so that she could get gas when 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 that McClure and D'Amico gave Bobbitt roughly $75,000 and spent the rest on luxury items and casino trips. Law enforcement began investigating after Bobbitt sued the couple, claiming that he had not received any of the money meant for him.

A hearing to determine whether Bobbitt would be accepted into a diversionary drug court program is scheduled for Jan. 22.

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