The story of the homeless man who helped out a woman needing gas for her car by donating his few dollars went viral on the Internet and had hundreds of people wanting to reach out and help. They did so through a GoFundMe site that ended up generating a sizable amount of charity and gifts. For those who gave money, it made them feel better instantly. There was only one problem. The story was made up. The man was not homeless, and the woman had never run out of gas.
Instead, the two were involved in an online scam that ended up defrauding folks out of approximately $400,000 in online money gifts. It was not only enough to trigger a serious crime, the pair got themselves charged with a federal conspiracy case and ultimately pled guilty in a New Jersey federal court. Johnny Bobbitt and Katelyn McClure both separately admitted their crime of wire fraud. Given their involvement and degree of actions, Bobbitt is looking at a potential 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. McClure for her part faces a bigger sentence of 20 years and a similar financial penalty. Both will find out for sure when they are sentenced. In addition to the federal charges, the pair also have a second round of trials to go through with state charges as well. It was a blunt, cold ending to a story and scam that started in 2017 and took off like wildfire, far better than Hobbitt and McClure thought it would.
The story was plausible and reasonable enough. A couple told their story online about how they wanted to help a homeless man who helped them. McClure and her partner posted that Bobbitt realized McClure was in trouble, stuck in Philadelphia without gas. She needed to get home, and Bobbitt, who was nearby, realized the problem. He then gave her his only $20 to buy gas so she could travel again. To show their gratitude, McClure and her boyfriend were trying to raise $10,000 to help Bobbitt out as a thank you. The story took off.
Unfortunately, the media got involved. Loving a story out of the norm with a good newsworthy ending, they showcased the story on TV, and it got big attention. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be a little scam turned into a big one, raising some $402,706 with the added attention in a short three weeks. While Bobbitt did get $25,000 set aside by McClure and her partner, the rest of it was burned like kerosene on fire via clothing, trips, a car, vacations, gambling and more. However, Bobbitt didn’t appreciate the small share, and sued the pair for more, arguing he should have gotten $75,000 at least. GoFundMe got involved by trying to avoid bad press and making sure Bobbitt, the alleged homeless person, got his fair shake.
All of the financial attention caught the eye of the Feds who started investigating McClure. They seized well over 60,000 digital messages between the couple, which included admissions that the whole story was made up – a smoking gun text in the fraud conspiracy. Interestingly, McClure’s partner, although he enjoyed the spending of the money with McClure, was not charged or seen as involved in the conspiracy. The Feds went after McClure and the alleged homeless partner, Bobbitt, for the fraud. And GoFundMe yet again found itself in the middle of a crazy criminal scheme gone public and bad, stealing money from people who wanted to help others online. It turned out to be an odd, miserable ending to what many had hoped would have been a story of human charity done right.
Daughter Overwhelms Parents Restaurant With Customers By Posting On TikTok
A seven-second video posted on TikTok by Jennifer Le has saved her parents’ Vietnamese pho restaurant from going out of business. In the video, Le showed the empty restaurant and her dad looking sad at the register. She then asked for social media’s help to keep the restaurant in business. The restaurant is in California and was doing ok before the pandemic, but has since had trouble getting customers to dine in.
The video went viral, and within hours, it had garnered millions of views and shares. People all over the world were touched by Le’s message and began sharing the video on their social media accounts. The response was overwhelming, with people expressing their support for the restaurant and their willingness to help.
As a result of the video, the restaurant was flooded with customers, many of whom had never heard of the place before. The increased business allowed Le’s parents to keep the restaurant open and the phones are ringing off the hook. The family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and expressed their gratitude to everyone who had shared the video and visited the restaurant.
Le’s video is a perfect example of the power of social media to effect change. In just seven seconds, she was able to capture the attention of millions of people and inspire them to take action. The video also highlights the struggles faced by small businesses during the pandemic and the importance of community support in keeping these businesses afloat.
Le’s video has since become a source of inspiration for many people who are struggling with similar issues. It serves as a reminder that even the smallest actions can have a significant impact, and that we all have the power to make a difference in our communities.
Massive Sandcastle Built by Auckland Brothers Impresses Scores of Beachgoers
When you have run out of Christmas ideas, nothing beats going to the beach and letting your creative juices flow. That’s what two brothers in New Zealand did this past Boxing Day and ended up with an amazing and eye-catching sandcastle.
After building a massive sandcastle on Boxing Day, two Auckland boys gained praise from other people around Mt Maunganui’s beach area that day.
Jared and Paul Brandon spent 10 hours that day building a two-meter-high sandcastle, beginning with a sketch of the structure “on a piece of A4 paper” and beginning at high tide. The pair plans to turn this into a Boxing Day ritual.
On Christmas Eve, the brothers started strategizing on how to top last year’s one-meter-high tower on Boxing Day 2021.
Because Jared and Paul are “very competitive,” they wanted to outdo their performance from the previous year. Before beginning their construction, the two searched online for sandcastle designs after visiting Bunnings to get tools, buckets, as well as a footrest.
Both residents and visitors have expressed admiration and astonishment at the beautiful creation.
Jared chuckles, “A guy is assessing how tall it is currently with his beach umbrella.
Jared informed the media, “This one is 2 meters, so we needed a few footstools to climb up tall enough and also used a builder’s level so it didn’t topple over.
The 150-liter pail was the biggest we were able to use, and the traditional household bucket was a fairly small one. We purchased them both from Bunnings.
Paul explains, “There are a few techniques, such as two portions of water to one portion of sand.”
Then came the spatulas to shape the windows, then toothpicks for creating the roof piles, as well as the straws for blowing off the “extra sand.”
The previous night, the two worked on it until 8 p.m., and unlike last year, it is still standing.
“Time went by incredibly quickly; it seemed like we were only at the beach for five hours, instead of ten.” “Paul spoke to the press.
He claims that while working for a California hotel plus learning how to construct sandcastles as a kid-friendly activity, he acquired the skill there about eight years ago.
“Now that he’s used that knowledge and developed it, he taught me. Therefore, for the previous four to five years, whenever we had the time, we would construct a sandcastle once a year ” says Jared.
The two, who are both camera operators, intend to go much further next year and are hoping to enlist the aid of a larger family.
We will attempt to teach my sister as well as my brother-in-law to assist us as they appear interested this year. “We are striving to dredge up more relatives to get involved in creating a village in 2023.”
Man Finds $47,000 Historic Ring
England is very much metal detector country. The land outside the big cities is stuffed full of artifacts and leftovers from ancient times, ranging from before the Romans’ arrival to the Middle Ages and more. So, it’s not surprising, with the blessing of local farmers, that many a fellow with a metal detector is out there spending a Saturday or Sunday scanning through a fallow farm field to see what might be found. As it turned out, David Board was one of those hunters, and he just happened to come across a very small gold ring in one of his ventures.
Located outside of Dorset, Board was busy scanning a pasture field and had been doing so for hours. The sun was late in the sky, and Board was about to wrap up when his machine pinged a definite metallic substance under the soil he was waving the sensor over. Sure enough, pinpointing the location and then digging specifically into that spot, Board unearthed a very small gold ring.
It was in the farm soil, the ground typically tilled for planting, but this particular field had been used for cattle instead. So, five inches underground, the ring remained until Board found it and pulled it back into the daylight. At first, he chalked up the discovery to just another piece of metal from old times, he cleared off the dirt, pocketed the ring and kept going. Then, at the end of the day, Board went home and washed off his finds in the sink. It was only then that he realized what that ring actually was.
While the method of metal detecting in England gives archaeologists utter heart attacks every time they hear a similar story, the finds are generally split between the metal detector and the farm owner, unless the farm owner just waives off the matter and lets the hunters keep whatever they find. Whichever the case in this instance, the ring was no small trinket. It turned out to be an exceedingly well-crafted and rare gold wedding ring from the Medieval period and in very good condition. To be auctioned off later this year, the find is expected to net between 30,000 to 47,000 British Pounds.
The only surprise to anyone hearing the story in England these days is why the local farmers still allow detectors to scan their fields without any stake in the finds.
Gold Miners Dig Up a Lot More than Ancient Gold
Gold miners are used to finding all sorts of things from ancient times. It’s not uncommon to find relics of prior miners, old habitats, animal remains and even dinosaur fossils as they dig deep into the earth or excavate large areas. However, it’s not an everyday occurrence to find a practically intact mummy of a baby mammoth.
Based on the estimates possible on first evaluation of the mummified baby mammoth found on June 21 by operations at the Klondike gold deposit, way up in the northern part of Canada, miners discovered a baby female mammoth assumed to be probably 30,000 years old. An occasional dinosaur or mammoth bone is uncommon but a regular occurrence. However, finding a complete set of remains of a baby mammoth is extremely rare and a big news in the world of paleontology and biology. Even better, the specimen is practically complete. Most times the remains have been tampered with by other animals or hunting and scavenging. Then nature moves things around even further and separates parts. In this case, however, the baby mammoth was complete, intact and well-preserved.
Named Nun cho ga but the local tribes, the find essentially means big baby animal, no surprise. All the skin and hair is intact, which makes the find extremely valuable in terms of understanding exactly how junvenile mammoths looked and probably behaved mechanically as well as physically. In terms of scientific information, the find is huge. It’s similar to finding an entire painting by a famous artist versus just having a brush he or she might have used.
Locked away in permafrost for centuries, the baby mammoth was literally preserved in the earth’s freezer, untouched by bacteria or the elements for an amazing amount of time. Scientists evaluating the specimen guess that the juvenile likely passed away earlier, maybe from sickness, as its pack was moving since there were no predatory marks on it or scattering of remains. Or, also likely, the animal may have gotten stuck in a deep mud pit or quicksand and was quickly buried, protecting it from rot or degradation.
The last time anyone found a North American baby mammoth in good condition was in 1948, some 70 plus years ago. That one was named Effie, and was located inside a gold mine in Alaska. Additionally, another more recent find was in 2007 in Siberia. That find was estimated to be much older, at 42,000 years of age. It was comparative to the same size as Nun cho ga, which means the two together will provide some interesting comparative notes and years of study going forward. It’s enough to make a dinosaur scientist get giggly.
Pennsylvania Nurses Get a COVID Booster for Student Loan Debt
Becoming a nurse is no easy day in the park. Aside from all the clinical hours required and bookwork in classes, a candidate still has to pass their state license exams as well as figure out how to pay for the education costs. It’s quite common for a graduating nurse, whether an LN or RN, to have thousands of dollars in student loan debt. That was already a significant barrier to recruitment before COVID-19 arrived. Things only got worse as experienced nurses left the field in droves after the pandemic’s burnout.
However, Pennsylvania is hitting the problem head on. The state decided that it was going to provide a pot totaling $55 million to help reduce or eliminate student loan debt for eligible nurses. Funded by a combination of state dollars matched to federal American Rescue Plan funds for overall economic stimulus, Pennsylvania directed its internal share to help boost nursing in-state again as well as keep nurses in their careers with financial stability.
Essentially, any nurse who worked during the pandemic, was licensed by the state, and cared for COVID-19 patients will be eligible to get a $7,500 payment for student loan relief. The funds are one-time, non-recurring, but they still represent a huge wave of debt relief for affected nurses. 24,000 plus nurses responded with applications before the deadline ended, which has exceeded the estimated fund allocation available, no surprise. To deal with this surge in eligibility, the state administrators will split the funds on a prorata basis between the impacted state areas and regions, based on the number of nurses who applied. Then, within each regional pot, nurses will be selected by random on who will get the one-time payment.
Those who are selected won’t see the funds themselves. To ensure the payment is used correctly, the money goes directly to the student loan servicer provided by that nurse in their application. The first recipients will see their student loans lowered this month, in August 2022. To help deal with the demand, an additional $15 million in federal dollars was redirected to the fund as well. The allocation for an awardee is $2,500 each year for three years. This allows an easier outflow of funds versus a demand surge all at once. Which will be a considerable amount of accounting work on the state side.
The hope is that with the eventual success of the program expected in nurse retention, the same model can be used again to bolster sagging industries seeing a brain drain in Pennsylvania, as well as stabilize people being crushed by student loan debt.
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