The Marine Corps veteran accused of helping swindle nearly a half-million dollars in a GoFundMe charity scam is allegedly on the run after skipping out on a New Jersey court appearance.
Police say they are looking for Johnny Bobbitt Jr., who was released from jail last month on the condition that he wear an electronic monitoring device and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
The 35-year-old was to appear in a Burlington County courtroom on Tuesday, but he failed to appear, authorities said. State Superior Court Judge Mark Tarantino has since issued a bench warrant for Bobbitt’s arrest.
His lawyer, John Keesler, told The Associated Press he spoke with Bobbitt on Friday and had expected his client to appear in court.
Bobbitt was arrested in November and accused of conspiring with Kate McClure, 28, and her former boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 39, to scam GoFundMe donors out of more than $400,000.
The trio, authorities said, fabricated a feel-good story about Bobbitt, claiming the former Marine, despite being homeless, gave his last $20 to McClure when she ran out of gas on I-95 outside of Philadelphia in 2017. The story went viral online, prompting more than 14,000 people to donate to the campaign.
The total amount available after GoFundMe’s fees totaled about $360,000. GoFundMe has since refunded everyone who donated to the campaign.
Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico all deny any wrongdoing. Each face charges of theft by deception, prosecutors said. If convicted, they will face up to 10 years behind bars.