How Trio's Alleged Feel-Good GoFundMe Scam Fell Apart


Last year, the seemingly heartwarming tale of a homeless good Samaritan who helped a woman driver in need sparked a crowdfunding campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for him and now, the story appears to have been a scam.

Kate McClure, 28, Mark D'Amico, 39, and drug-addicted homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, 35, were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception, after the three concocted a story that Bobbitt had given McClure his last $20 after her vehicle ran out of fuel, leaving her stranded on the side of I-95 in a risky Philadelphia neighborhood.

Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure, and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico were all arrested in connection with the alleged plot.

All are charged with theft by deception and conspiring to commit theft by deception.

A picture of Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt displayed during a news conference in Mt. Holly, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

Less than an hour after the couple set up the page to solicit donations, McClure sent a text message to a friend acknowledging the story was "completely made up", prosecutors said. Bobbitt is in custody in Philadelphia, with a process now underway to extradite him to New Jersey. In a bid to persuade people to donate, they offered a story about how Bobbitt had given up his last $20 dollars to help a woman refuel when her auto broke down in 2017.

But the first twist came in August when Bobbitt sued McClure and D'Amico, saying he had only received a fraction of the money - about $75,000 - and accusing the couple of pulling one over on donors. McClure and D'Amico surrendered to authorities and were released.

He said the money is all gone, most of it squandered by McClure and D'Amico on gambling, numerous luxury handbags, a New Year's trip to Las Vegas and a BMW.

Pasajero golpeó a tripulante por obligarlo a salir del baño
El avión estaba próximo al aterrizaje en el Aeropuerto Internacional Ingeniero Ambrosio Taravella cuando el pasajero cordobés se encontraba en el baño y se negaba a salir.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie", Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffin said.

GoFundMe has committed to providing a full refund to the campaign's 14,000 donors, Coffina said.

The couple said during the campaign that the money would go to financial trusts, a financial adviser and a lawyer for Mr. Bobbitt.

"GoFundMe will process all refunds in the coming days", the company said in a statement. "We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior". The couple maintained they had given him $200,000 over several months.

About $402,000 had poured into the campaign, an amount that Bobbitt told the show felt like "winning the lottery".

But they seem to have shot themselves in their feet as they allegedly failed to give Bobbitt his fair share, which led to the disgruntled rough sleeper filing a suit against them, ultimately leading to the investigation into their actions. Bobbitt's lawyer didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Bobbitt accused the couple of kicking him out, selling his vehicle and spending the money they raised for him on other things.

Prosecutors began investigating after Bobbitt claimed he wasn't getting the money that had been raised on his behalf.

It was also found Bobbitt had posted a similar story to his Facebook page in 2012, in which he claimed to have spent his food money to help a woman, but the story did not gain the same traction. They said Bobbitt only saw $75,000 of the almost $400,000 he was owed.