One of 2018's biggest stories could lead to one of the first pieces of legislation passed in 2019 this year. A new bill could increase the penalties for those convicted of theft and deception from crowdfunding (GoFundMe and other services) sites.

Even though it's a new year, I don't think anyone can forget the GoFundMe Scam between a homeless man and a young Burlington County couple.

Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure and boyfriend Mark D’Amico created quite a story that received national attention.

Authorities say the trio conspired to create a store that claimed the homeless man (Bobbitt) gave the woman (McClure) his last $20 for gas after he saw her stranded on the side of the road in Philadelphia.

After posting his picture and their story online, the cpi[;e created a GoFundMe page $400,000, which was raised for Bobbitt to have a better life. Of course, it turns out the entire thing was a scam. Authorities say that the three conspired to get the money.

Of course, the entire thing went south when McClure and her boyfriend D’Amico started spending the money from the GoFundMe, and they weren't giving Bobbitt his share. Bobbitt filed a lawsuit, and authorities uncovered their entire plan fell apart. The three of them were arrested and if found guilty of all the charges could face up to 10 years in jail. Recently, GoFundMe has refunded every single penny to those who donated to the cause.

Inspired by this GoFundMe scam, a New Jersey bill which was introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer will increase penalties for those convicted of crowdfunding theft. Those convicted will have to pay fines and get jail time. The fines that the convicted pay for their crimes will be placed into an account that will eventually fund providing housing for the homeless.

Scammers beware! GoFundMe and the state of New Jersey will not allow you to screw people out of their hard earned money. Here's hoping this bill passes.


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