Lawmaker wants to make sure fundraiser scammers pay the price
It was a tale that touched our hearts but in the end it turned out to be a sob-story sham that left many of us disgusted and outraged.
South Jersey residents Kate McClure, her ex-boyfriend Mark D’Amico, and homeless vet Johnny Bobbitt are facing charges of conspiracy and theft by deception after investigators said they posted a phony online story about how Bobbitt spent his last $20 to help McClure get home after her car broke down on the highway.
The duo set up a GoFundMe account for Bobbitt that collected more than $400,000 in donations — money that the couple spent on extravagant trips and gambling.
Now a Jersey lawmaker wants to make sure this kind of fraudulent behavior is never repeated.
Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, has introduced a measure that would increase the penalties for “crowdfunding theft.”
His measure requires anyone convicted of a crowdfunded theft to pay full restitution to all victims, and it also calls for a fine of $500 for each contribution in addition to the normal fine that goes with theft by deception.
His measure would also impose a mandatory jail term for this kind of crime, although the term has not been established yet.
Dancer said the legislation calls for taking all of the money that’s collected improperly and set it up into a fund for the homeless and those at risk of losing their homes.
People who donated to the Bobbitt GoFundMe were refunded by the company. Dancer's law makes sure victims are always made whole.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com