BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ (KYW/CNN/RNN) – A former homeless veteran accused in an alleged GoFundMe scam learned Friday he was being released from jail.
But that freedom comes with some conditions.
Just a week after being jailed in New Jersey and formally charged with being part of a $400,000 GoFundMe scam, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. walked into a Burlington County courtroom, smiling.
“It is my understanding that there is an agreement today to release you, Mr. Bobbitt. and that you will not be detained,” the judge said.
Prosecutors in the case have agreed to release Bobbitt from jail until he goes to trial for his alleged role in the scam that got national attention.
He’s reportedly expected to return to the apartment he’d been living in before he was arrested.
Bobbitt is accused of being part of a trio that allegedly concocted a good Samaritan story that scammed thousands of people out of more than $400,000.
The alleged scam started when Kate McClure, one of Bobbitt’s co-defendants, claimed Bobbitt gave her his last $20 when he saw McClure stranded along a Philadelphia freeway ramp in need of gas – a story prosecutors claim was concocted by Bobbitt, McClure and Mark D’Amico, McClure’s boyfriend and co-defendant.
McClure and D’Amico then started a GoFundMe account which was supposed to help Bobbitt.
The fundraising campaign collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, but then the co-defendants began publicly squabbling over the money, with Bobbitt claiming he was never given all the money promised to him. That’s when authorities began investigating.
In past proceedings, Bobbitt’s attorneys have indicated that his role in the scam may have been influenced by a drug issue, and they are attempting to transition his case to drug court for a more lenient outcome.
Until then, Bobbitt will be out of jail, with certain conditions.
"You are on monitoring level three. That means you have to report weekly to the Burlington County Pretrial Services Office,” the judge told Bobbitt. “Sir, another condition is that you are not to use or possess illegal or non-prescription narcotics … You are to submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation. There is one available for you. You are to attend NA meetings three times a week."
“NA” stands for Narcotics Anonymous.
In addition, Bobbitt was ordered not to contact McClure and D’Amico, and he cannot get arrested again.
Bobbitt’s attorneys wouldn’t say if the prosecutors’ decision has anything to do with their client possibly testifying against his two co-defendants.