A homeless man and a New Jersey couple will reportedly face charges for allegedly concocting a heartwarming tale in order to drum up GoFundMe donations to the tune of more than $400,000.
What are the details?
Investigators say that Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico conspired with homeless man Johnny Bobbitt to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through a GoFundMe scam masked as an effort to help the homeless former Marine.
According the the couple's story that caught national attention, Bobbitt gave his last $20 to McClure, who was stranded without gas in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood in 2017. McClure and D'Amico later created a GoFundMe page, which went viral, to supposedly pay it forward to Bobbitt. The fundraiser brought in more than $400,000 from 14,000 contributors.
Authorities now believe it was all a ruse.
WCAU-TV said a copy of a criminal complaint against the trio showed that the three face charges of conspiracy and theft by deception. The couple turned themselves in to local authorities on Wednesday. Their lawyer, WCAU reported, had no comment. Bobbitt remains at large.
The New York Post reported that the prosecutor's office in Burlington County, New Jersey, is expected to make an announcement regarding the case on Thursday.
What went wrong?
According to WCAU, the whole thing began to fall apart in August when Bobbitt sued the couple after accusing them of spending the money on themselves and going on high-dollar shopping sprees.
In response, McClure and D'Amico said that they withheld money from Bobbitt out of concern for him and said that Bobbitt was giving money away and spending more on drugs.
Bobbitt reportedly was able to purchase a camper and SUV to the tune of about $75,000, but Bobbitt reportedly no longer has access to either one of those assets.
D'Amico said that he had been controlling Bobbitt's money and said that he would dole out more funds when Bobbitt got a job and quit using drugs.
In September, local authorities raided McClure and D'Amico's home and confiscated a pricey vehicle, cash, and jewelry, and bags of other related evidence.
An attorney for the couple said that $200,000 had gone to Bobbitt — but a superior court judge said that McClure and D'Amico had "misadvised " the attorney and there actually was no money left.
Later that month, GoFundMe told KYW that it was working to ensure that Bobbitt received the money raised for him.
“GoFundMe has given $20,000 to a bank account created by Johnny’s legal team to provide assistance during the investigation,” a GoFundMe spokesperson told KYW. “It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected.”