Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

NJ couple, homeless man charged after GoFundMe scam

NJ couple, homeless man charged after GoFundMe scam

The New Jersey couple who raised $400,000 through GoFundMe for a homeless man who, they say, gave them his last $20 a year ago allegedly made up the story as part of a scam that all three of them were in on, according to a report.

The homeless veteran and couple who raised $400,000 for him through GoFundMe are now facing criminal charges in Burlington County, N.J., where prosecutors say the whole thing was a ruse.

Last year, Kate McClure said she ran out of gas while driving when Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless vet, gave her his last $20. But prosecutors say they found evidence all three knew each other for at least a month before and set up the scheme. "It was fictitious and illegal and there are consequences".

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

D'Amico and McClure surrendered Wednesday night and were released pending a court date, Coffina said.

The US protagonists in a viral "pay it forward" fundraising campaign for a homeless man have been charged with theft by deception and conspiracy.

She said Bobbitt came to her aid and gave her his last $20 when she ran out of gas on an Interstate 95 exit ramp in Philadelphia late one night last October, the Daily Mail reports.

McClure said that in an attempt to thank Bobbitt for his help, she set up the fundraising page, which brought in more than $400,000 U.S. and landed them in the national and worldwide news. Coffina said that the company worked closely with investigators, and would be announcing that it will provide a full refund to anyone who donated to the couple's GoFundMe page.

Less than an hour after the couple set up the page to solicit donations, McClure sent a text message to a friend acknowledging the story was "completely made up".

Bobbitt later sued the couple, and prosecutors began investigating. Bobbitt's lawyer says his client received about $75,000.

Instead of an apartment, the couple bought Bobbitt a camper and a ute - but it was in their names and parked on the couple's property, and he was eventually ordered to leave.

On Thursday afternoon, Burlington County prosecutors announced formal charges against Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure.

Now, prosecutors told WCAU that the D'Amico, McClure and Bobbitt all conspired together in the hopes of getting and diving up the cash.

In an appearance on NBC's "Megyn Kelly Live", McClure and D'Amico denied the allegations, saying they withheld some of the money out of fear Bobbitt would spend it on drugs. Bobbitt reportedly believed the New Jersey-based couple was spending it on themselves, citing recent lavish trips, a new BMW, and some gambling.

In late August, a New Jersey judge settled the matter by ruling that all remaining GoFundMe donations should be deposited in a trust overseen by Bobbitt's legal team.

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