Imagine you’re in the worst part of town, like Kate McClure was. And then a homeless man, like Johnny Bobbitt, helps you. Well, naturally, you’d want to pay it forward. So Kate and her husband tried to repay Bobbitt, but now the couple who raised over $400,000 for a homeless man is in some deep trouble with the law after some major twists in their story.
She Made A Huge Mistake
In October 2017, Kate McClure was driving down I-95 on her way to Philadelphia. Her gas light was on, but she decided to ignore it. She thought she could make it to the nearest gas station, but she was wrong.
It Was Her First Time
McClure had never run out of gas before. She was frightened, but there was only one thing she could do. “I pulled over as far as I could, and got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page. And then she met him.
Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, was sitting on the side of the road. “He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong. He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors.” It turns out, she was on the wrong side of town.
Hero To The Rescue
Bobbitt didn’t have a lot of money, but he had enough to get McClure what she needed. “A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can. Using his last 20 dollars to make sure I could get home safe.” Soon enough, McClure realized she had stumbled upon an incredible human being.
She Was In Awe
She couldn’t believe her luck! Anything could have happened to her if Bobbitt hadn’t helped her. “I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day,” she continued on her GoFundMe page. Still, Bobbitt managed to surprise her once more.
He Wanted Nothing In Return?
“Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn’t repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash.” But as soon as she was able to, McClure took every chance she got to pay it forward, and boy did she figure out a way to help out a man in need. But sadly, this story doesn't end as we hoped it would.
She Tried to Help Him Back
“I repaid him for the gas, gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dollars every time I see him,” McClure shared. It seemed like every time she spoke to him, she wanted to find better ways to help him out even more.
He’s Always Generous
One day, McClure stopped by to give him some cereal bars, among other things, so that he would have a snack to eat. “He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was “do you want one?” She was stunned. How selfless could one person be?
Sharing Is Caring
Another time, McClure dropped off a case of water and 2 Wawa gift cards. Bobbitt was so excited, but McClure was mesmerized when she learned something else about him. “I can’t wait to show the guys” (there are 2 others he hangs out with and they all take care of each other),” he told her, excitedly.
She Created A GoFundMe
That's when McClure decided to open a GoFundMe account for Bobbitt, as she felt she needed to do more for the selfless man who lent her a helping hand. “With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle, and 4-6 months worth of expenses.”
Give Me A Break
She believed that Bobbitt needed a break from life's hardships to get back on his feet again. Plus, Bobbitt was enthusiastic about finding a new job. “I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal,” she went on to say.
They Went Overboard
McClure knew that winter was coming and that she had to get Bobbitt off the streets. “Please help this man get into a home,” she pleaded on the page, and it worked. Her GoFundMe goal was $10,000, but she ended up raising an impressive $402,706.
Taking A Bite Out Of The Big Apple
McClure eventually updated the GoFundMe page with images of herself, her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, and Bobbitt on vacation in New York City. “First time in the big Apple today!! It was amazing.” But then, everything fell apart, and things escalated in such a negative way that now the police had to get involved.
The Tale Got Twisted
The tale that captivated the nation had taken a shocking twist. Bobbitt decided to sue McClure and D’Amico. He claimed that the couple didn’t manage his GoFundMe donations properly. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
They Got Greedy
According to Bobbitt’s lawsuit, the couple couple raised over 400k for a homeless man and have now attempted to keep the money for themselves. Now he’s asking for undisclosed damages, and his lawyers are demanding that a judge get someone take a closer look at the funds.
Christopher C. Fallon, Bobbitt’s lawyer, told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "He's really left us with no choice but to go forward." The legal suit was taken against D’Amico, who allegedly ignored requests to account for the money earned during the fundraising campaign.
Johnny Bobbitt was promised a home. Instead, he got a camper on McClure’s family property in Florence Township, Burlington County. And to make matters worst, the used SUV he was gifted broke down. The couple didn’t want Bobbitt selling the two vehicles they gave him, so they kept them under McClure’s name and eventually sold them.
Frustrated And Betrayed
McClure still feels that she and D’Amico did everything possible to help Bobbitt. In fact, she still believes there’s hope for the homeless veteran. But for now, all she feels is anger and frustration. "I don't want to lose my job over this," she told The Inquirer.
He’s A Victim
Meanwhile, Jacqueline Promislo of Cozen O’Connor, who also represents Bobbitt, considers him to be a victim of circumstances. "We want to make sure he has the opportunity to benefit from the incredible generosity of people."
GoFundMe Speaks Out
GoFundMe spokesperson Bartlett Jackson said that the organization is also investigating claims that the funds were misused, and that they're planning on working to ensure that, “Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors' intentions are honored."
Leave It All Behind
D’Amico claimed that Bobbitt suggested he sell the camper he was living in for $10,000, as well as the SUV so that Bobbitt could use the money to leave New Jersey. Meanwhile, Bobbitt claimed D’Amico didn’t give him the money and kicked him out of his camper. But things would only get complicated after that.
He Spent Too Much
D’Amico told Megyn Kelly on “The Today Show” that Bobbitt spent $25,000 on overdue legal bills, illegal substances, and on family members. “Every dollar [Bobbitt] ever touched was used for drugs," he told Kelly, attempting to explain the reason why they didn't give Bobbitt his GoFundMe money.
What’s Left Of It
D’Amico’s lawyer was told by the judge to place whatever funds were left into an escrow account. And while on “The Today Show,” D’Amico claimed that more than $150,000 remained of the original money that was fundraised. So where the heck was the remaining funds?
D’Amico admitted that he didn’t feel safe handing over the GoFundMe funds after he saw how careless Bobbitt was with the money he already had. Now, D’Amico and McClure are looking for ways continue managing Bobbitt’s money, while separating themselves from the homeless veteran. But many don't believe the story.
Back On The Streets
Bobbitt is homeless again, and holding a sign that reads, “Homeless. Hungry. Any Helps. Thank You! God Bless!” And as he sought shelter under the bridge at Callowhill and Second, Bobbitt added that “panhandling for food and drugs is better than trying to squeeze money from McClure and D'Amico”.
The Investigation Continues
On September 6, 2018, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Florence Township Police Department executed a search warrant at the home of D’Amico and McClure. The ongoing criminal investigation alleges that the couple raised over 400k for a homeless man only to keep the money. But the money belongs to none other than Bobbitt, but so far, no charges have been filed.
Playing It Cool
In one instance, ABC6 shared footage showing D’Amico playing with his pooch and swinging a golf club while authorities searched his home. But McClure covered her face as she got in her car and drove off. And she wasn’t in the mood to speak with reporters either.
He’ll Get What He Deserves
Meanwhile, GoFundMe wanted to lend Bobbitt a hand. “GoFundMe is also working with Johnny’s legal team to ensure he’s receiving support while the remaining funds are being recovered,” they said in a statement.
The Plot Twist Thickens
But the story didn’t end there. D’Amico and McClure seemed like angels in human form. But they were more like devils in disguise, and when people found out who originally came up with the scam, it left everyone speechless.
The Whole Story Was a Lie
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina told Time, “Almost no part of the tale was true.” Their entire story had been a bold face lie right from the beginning. As it turns out, Bobbitt never gave McClure $20 to help her out when she run out of gas in Philadelphia. Not only that, but surprisingly, McClure wasn’t the one who came up with the whole GoFundMe scam.
McClure Wasn’t the Ringleader
Mark D'Amico, Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. had reportedly met in October 2017 near a Philadelphia casino. In a shocking turn of events, people learned that it wasn’t McClure who came up with the scam to take money from people. But she and her boyfriend did play an important role in the deception.
D’Amico Came Up With the Plan
According to Authorities, D’Amico was the one who came up with the story they would use to fool people. As the ring leader, he led his then-girlfriend McClure and Bobbitt to tell a convincing enough story to fool everyone. Yes, the homeless man everyone thought was a victim of circumstances played a hand in the deception as well.
The Money Didn’t Last Long
After raising $400,000, things took a sour turn. It turns out that most of the money didn’t end up going to Bobbitt. According to the federal criminal complaint, the money raised in the GoFundMe campaign was spent by March 2018. But what did they spend it on?
They Blew the Money on Luxuries
The majority of the money was spent by McClure and D’Amico on a BMW, an RV, and several trips to casinos in New Jersey and Las Vegas. But no one would have been aware of the hoax if someone hadn’t betrayed them.
Bobbitt Felt Robbed
Bobbitt felt he had been stiffed so he ended up suing D’Amico and McClure, which ultimately led authorities to uncover the sinister crime that the former couple had done. But in the end, the three of them got in serious trouble.
D’Amico Pleaded Guilty
D’Amico pleaded guilty in State Superior Court in Burlington County to misapplication of entrusted property stemming from the 2017 hoax. And the others didn’t get off scot-free either...
They Were All in Hot Water
McClure and Bobbitt also faced state and federal charges for their role in the fraud. McClure pleaded guilty to federal and state charges. But D’Amico was in even deeper trouble than his ex or the homeless man. In addition to federal and state charges, D’Amico also faced federal wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. One thing was certain. He didn’t have a bit of guilt before he got caught and neither did the others.
They Were Really Good Liars
The trio did television and newspaper interviews. They had even posed for photos and revisited the spot where they claimed McClure and Bobbitt met. They also went on “Good Morning America.” But then authorities got suspicious and that’s when the real story unraveled.
They Investigated Everyone
When Bobbitt sued the couple for reportedly not giving him the money that had been raised, authorities started looking into the backstory of everyone involved, and they quickly discovered that they were all scammers.
The Lawsuit Exposed the Truth
Bobbitt’s lawsuit led to a search warrant, a deposition and an investigation into the GoFundMe campaign that exposed the conspiracy that had robbed thousands of good-hearted people out of their hard-earned money.
Bobbitt Only Got a Fraction of the Profits
McClure did transfer $25,000 from her personal bank account to Bobbitt’s account in December 2017, according to federal prosecutors. But he only received a total of $75,000 from the campaign according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
McClure Never Ran Out of Gas
According to a United States Attorney’s Office press release, “In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her. D’Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors.” And now it was time to pay the piper.
D’Amico Was Ready to Pay
D’Amico pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree misapplication of entrusted property in Burlington County and was ready to accept whatever he had to do to make amends. But while he didn’t face federal charges, it did cost him his freedom.
He Was Going Away For Five
"He will be required to make full restitution to GoFundMe and the donors — the true victims in this case — and has agreed to a five-year term in New Jersey state prison," said Coffina about D’Amico, but McClure’s situation wasn’t quite so simple.
McClure Owned Up To Her Mistake
McClure pled guilty in April 2019 to second-degree theft by deception in a plea agreement. She was supposed to be sentenced in June, but it was delayed until September. And then, there was another delay. Was this her defense team working overtime to get her out?
McClure’s Sentencing is in the Air
She had agreed to a four-year prison sentence but as of December 2019, she has not been sentenced. But it’s only a matter of time until she pays her dues just like McClure is doing. But what about Bobbitt?
Bobbitt Lucked Out in Court
Bobbitt pleaded guilty at the local level to one count of conspiracy to commit theft by deception. But he was a lot luckier than D’Amico and McClure and it’s easy to see why they’re probably seeing red.
He Has to Agree to Court’s Terms
Bobbitt was put on a five-year special probation period for his part in the hoax. But he won’t have to serve any jail time, so long as he agrees to the court’s terms. But can he commit to what they’re asking?
Bobbitt Got a Second Chance
Despite his obvious deception, the court took pity on Bobbitt and ordered him to go into a drug treatment program. But it isn’t an option. He’d either participate in the program or he will have to face some heavier consequences.
If He Fails He Goes to Jail
The program will allow him to get clean and get his head straight and hopefully put him on the right track. If he fails to complete the treatment program, prosecutors claim he could end up in prison for five years. But it could have been worse.
He Could’ve Gotten a Harsh Sentence
Bobbitt could have faced up to 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine after he pled guilty. But the program will require him to get a job and stay on the straight and narrow. So long as he does that, he’ll remain a free man. But the story has left some people questioning.
The Money Was Returned
GoFundMe has a reputation of ensuring donors are protected when fraudulent campaigns like this one occurs. So, the company has assured everyone that the money was returned to all the donors.