The veteran pleaded guilty in New Jersey federal court on Wednesday, for conspiring with the woman and her then-boyfriend to devise a heartwarming story that ended up raising $400,000 for a GoFundMe campaign.
The veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the woman, Kate McClure also pleaded guilty. The woman’s then-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico currently faces charges in Burlington County, New Jersey.
All three were accused of fabricating a story in 2017, where Bobbitt supposedly came to McClure’s rescue when her car ran out of gas on I-95 in Philadelphia. According to the story, Bobbitt gave her his last $20 to fill her tank.
The story subsequently went viral and the trio went on a media campaign to advocate for their GoFunMe scam, eventually raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Officials say they found out about the scheme when Bobbitt felt like he wasn’t given what he was owed and tried to sue the couple. However, by then, the money was gone: McClure and D’Amico had spent it on a car, traveling, high-end handbags, and gambling, per ABC.
Bobbitt’s lawsuit led to the investigation, which ultimately revealed the scheme, according to prosecutors. Later, prosecutors also found out that all three accomplices knew each other for at least a month before organizing the scam.