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Judge orders NJ couple to turn over GoFundMe cash raised for homeless man

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow has ordered a couple to turn over the GoFundMe money raised for a homeless veteran. (Image source: Video screenshot)

A judge has ordered a New Jersey couple to turn over the remaining cash from a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $400,000 for homeless man Johnny Bobbitt. The fundraiser was inspired by Bobbitt's act of kindness toward the woman, Kate McClure, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

On Thursday, Mount Holly Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow ordered Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico to hire a forensic accountant to determine where an estimated $200,000 from the fundraiser was spent. Dow also ordered the couple to transfer the money into an escrow account, which will be controlled by Bobbitt's attorneys.

“I’ll be completely surprised if they spent $200,000 on Johnny Bobbitt,” said Christopher Fallon, one of Bobbitt's attorneys, according to KYW-TV.

The couple said they deposited the GoFundMe money into their personal bank accounts and have claimed that they spent at least half of it trying to help Bobbitt get off the street.

What's the back story?

Bobbitt, a former U.S. Marine, helped McClure last Thanksgiving when she ran out of gas in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood. He used his last $20 to put gas in her car.

She later posted on social media about his act of kindness and it went viral. McClure and D'Amico decided to try to help him get back on his feet and set up the GoFundMe account that drew $403,000 and more than 14,000 donors.

The couple has said they purchased a camper for him to live in on their property, but after they learned he was using drugs, they kicked him out and cut off his access to the money.

What did the lawyers say?

Bobbitt's pro bono lawyers filed a complaint on Tuesday alleging that McClure and D'Amico have misused the funds and spent a substantial amount of the money for themselves.

Fallon told the judge that Bobbitt has received about $75,000 from the GoFundMe account, KYW reported.

The lawsuit is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages, interest, and counsel fees, and for a “guardian ad litem” to be appointed for Bobbitt.

Bobbitt did not appear in court.

The couple's attorney, Ernest Badway, told the judge that Bobbitt had received about $200,000 of the money.

"The idea that no good deed goes unpunished is truly demonstrated in this particular case," Badway said in court, the Courier Post reported.

Neither McClure nor D'Amico appeared in court but they have denied any wrongdoing.

Dow told Badway that his clients had until Friday to turn over the money.

The lawyer called the judge's order "a harsh remedy," according to The Inquirer.

"The banks are open Friday, most banks are open Saturday. And if the monies aren't in the bank, they can pull their money out of their pillowcases and have them delivered to you, to be handed over and placed in a trust account," Dow responded.

What else?

An accounting of the money is expected in 10 days, according to KYW.

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