NC Homeless Veteran And NJ Couple Face Conspiracy Charges After GoFundMe Debacle

April FrancisNov 16, 2018

The couple-Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure-launched the GoFundMe campaign in November a year ago, claiming it was for a man called Johnny Bobbitt Jr. who, they said, gave McClure his last $20 to get home safe after her auto ran out of gas while she was driving into Philadelphia.

Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina, who planned the news conference, declined to provide further details about the announcement or whether criminal charges would be brought.

The prosecutor said the heartwarming "pay-it-forward story" about a homeless man, Bobbitt, who spent his only money to help a woman, McClure, put gas in her car's empty tank was "too good to be true". "It was fictitious and illegal and there are consequences".

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

D'Amico and McClure surrendered Wednesday night.

New Jersey prosecutors allege that Johnny Bobbitt Jr. worked with Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure in the rip-off.

Last fall, social media was abuzz with the story of McClure and D'Amico's seeming act of kindness. That campaign eventually raised $400,000, from people eager to help the homeless man with the heart of gold. For its part, GoFundMe promised all the money would go to Bobbitt as intended.

Bobbitt's attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, told The New York Post that the couple started to spend the money right after depositing it into their bank account on expensive shoes and pricey vacations.

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The story originally gained popularity after the large amount of money was raised, however trouble struck when the couple allegedly stole some of the funds for their personal use and were later sued by Bobbit.

It's not exactly clear what happened with the money, though Bobbitt's attorney has said it's all gone.

A spokesman for Bobbitt could not be reached for a comment.

D'Aminco, McClure and Bobbitt now all face charges of second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit second-degree theft by deception.

"Rather, D'Aminco, McClure and Bobbitt conspired to fabricate and promoted a feel-good story that would compel donors to contribute to their cause", he said.

Authorities said they believe the entire story was a ruse, concocted by McClure, D'Amico and Bobbitt as a get-rich-quick scheme.

McClure and D'Amico insisted they had given Bobbitt around $200,000, with lawyers for GoFundMe stepping in.

GoFundMe said in a statement that people who donated money would get a full refund in the coming days.

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