World Media

Homeless hero Johnny Bobbitt ‘colluded with couple for GoFundMe con’

Couple homeless man accused of making up story that earned $400K in donations

Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico started the online fund drive in November 2017, claiming that vagrant Johnny Bobbitt had spent his last $20 to buy McClure a tank of gas when her auto broke down along I-95 outside Philadelphia.

The charges against couple Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico and former marine Johnny Bobbitt were announced in a news conference on Thursday in Burlington County, New Jersey.

According to NBC Philadelphia, a source familiar with the case says Mark D'Amico, his girlfriend, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt will face charges that include conspiracy and theft by deception. Badway has said he thinks it's likely they would be indicted.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie", Coffina said.

In numerous media appearances, McClure claimed she was driving to meet a friend in September 2017 when she ran out of gas around midnight on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia and Bobbitt, who was sleeping under a nearby overpass, came to her rescue.

They went back to the spot a month later, Coffina said.

McClure said on the GoFundMe page that the money would be used to buy Bobbitt a house and truck, and the rest would be placed in two trusts-one that would let him "collect a small "salary" each year" and another for his retirement.

Bobbitt, 35, was arrested Wednesday night by USA marshals in Philadelphia and remained in custody Thursday on probation detainers and a $50,000 United States bond.

"By the middle of March, D'Amico and McClure squandered the vast amount of money", Coffina said. I didn't think anything about it. McClure and D'Amico denied that, telling the Inquirer they'd withheld a large share of it because Bobbitt was spending irresponsibly and had a drug problem, something Bobbitt has worked to beat and not disputed.

Coffina also noted that the story of the empty gas tank is not new to Bobbitt. Then, when a federal judge ordered the couple to transfer the remaining funds to Bobbitt, the couple's lawyer said there were no funds left at all.

The page's feel-good story went quickly viral, eventually drawing donations from more than 14,000 people and raising more than $400,000.

All three have since been taken into police custody, including Bobbitt, who was arrested in Philadelphia.

Before the new allegations came to light, a GoFundMe spokesperson previously told Fast Company that Bobbitt would be "made whole and we're committing that he'll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefitted from".

Kate McClure and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico, of Bordentown, New Jersey, made headlines after setting up a fundraising page for Johnny Bobbitt a year ago.

GoFundMe, which gave Bobbitt $20,000 in September as financial assistance during the investigation of the case, said Thursday that it will fully refund all the money raised to donors.