Homeless vet, NJ couple charged as GoFundMe saga continues

Homeless vet, NJ couple charged as GoFundMe saga continues
Homeless man, couple who gained fame through GoFundMe campaign accused of fabricating story
A couple conspired with a homeless man on a story about him offering the last of his money when the womans car ran out of gas and then set up a fraudulent GoFundMe account to scam sympathizers, according to a report Wednesday.

According to NBC Philadelphia, a source familiar with the case says Mark DAmico, his girlfriend, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt will face charges that include conspiracy and theft by deception.

In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClures boyfriend Mark DAmico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

DAmico and McClure reportedly have surrendered to Burlington County prosecutors. Its unknown if Bobbitt plans to surrender.

Prosecutors are expected to officially announce charges on Thursday, the Camden Courier Post reports.

Investigators searched the Florence home of Mark DAmico and Katelyn McClure in September after questions arose about what happened to the money they raised through a GoFundMe page.

Homeless man and couple made up story, say cops, and everyones getting charged

The story of DAmico, McClure and Bobbitt went viral in November 2017, according to nj.com. McClure said she ran out of gas in Philadelphia when she encountered Bobbitt, who gave her his final $20 so she could fill the tank of her vehicle.

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The couple then started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt. It drew more than $400,000 in donations.

A homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., was famously seen to give his last $20 to a young woman, Kate McClure, who had run out of gas. Then McClure and her husband, Mark DAmico, raised $400,000 on GoFundMe by way of thanks, only to end up publicly shamed after only gaving a small portion of the funds to Bobbitt. Authorities now say, though, that it was all a wheeze, the three of them working together from the outset.

In September, Bobbitt sued the couple, accusing them of withholding money from him and instead spending it on themselves. Bobbitts lawyer says his client received about $75,000.

You’d think that so-called “porch pirates” would have realized by now that everyone has installed cameras to catch them in the act. But this brazen thief couldn’t care less. Bill Garner writes: “My phone alerted me that my doorbell had detected a visitor. When I pulled up the clip, I saw this pair of thieves! […]

Video: Homeless man, couple created GoFundMe scheme: Report

DAmico and McClure said they were rationing the money to keep Bobbitt from using it on something stupid.

Bobbitt lived for a short time on the couples property in a camper purchased for him but later was told to leave and became homeless again. He admitted he still struggled with drug addiction in April but now says hes clean, the Courier Post reports.

Homeless man conspired with couple who raised $400k on GoFundMe

Prosecutors have been focusing on DAmico and McClure and their home in Florence, N.J., was raided in September, nj.com reports. A new BMW, jewelry and cash were seized in the raid, according to NBC Philadelphia.

BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (WTXF) – Authorities in Burlington County are expected to provide an update in the case involving a GoFundMe page that was allegedly set up to help a homeless veteran.

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Video: Announcement Expected About GoFundMe Account For Homeless Man

Police to update case of couple accused of bilking homeless man of GoFundMe money

The story started in November 2017 when Kate McClure claimed her car ran out of gas in on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Thats when she said the homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, approached her. After learning she was stranded and had no cash, he told her to wait inside the car with the doors locked. Then he used his last $20 to go buy her a can of gas — or so McClure claimed. 

McClure, 28, and D’Amico, 39, created a GoFundMe page in November 2017, claiming the homeless, drug addict Bobbitt spent his last $20 to fill up McClure’s empty gas tank after her car broke down near Philadelphia.

Moved by Bobbitts kind gesture, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark DAmico, said they returned to Philadelphia a few days later to check on Bobbit and buy him food and clothing, according to local Philadelphia station WPVI-TV. The couple said they got to know the man and learned that he was a down-on-his-luck veteran. So they decided to launch a GoFundMe page, which they titled Paying It Forward, to raise money for a car, first and last months rent on an apartment, and four to six months worth of expenses for Bobbitt. McClure wrote, [I] Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. They set a goal of $10,000 but earned $401,921 by the time Bobbitt made the call to cap the fundraising. 

Thats when things got complicated. Instead of an apartment, they bought Bobbitt a camper and a pickup truck — but it was in their names and parked on the couples property. Bobbitt says he was at the mercy of McClure and DAmico, who doled out the money to him bit by bit. He claims he received only $75,000 in cash, goods and services from the couple, according to local WPVI-TV. I had to ask them for everything. In the beginning it was a joke. They were like my parents. But the joke stops being funny after a while.

But it has now emerged the entire story may have been an elaborate scam, as prosecutors in New Jersey announced developments in a criminal investigation into Ms McClure and her boyfriend Mark DAmico, who raised $400,000 (£307,000) in alleged donations for Mr Bobbitt.

New developments in case of homeless man who gave woman his last $20 for gas

To make matters worse, the couple allegedly used the bulk of the money to finance a lifestyle they couldnt afford, paying for lavish vacations, shopping sprees and a BMW — extravagances they flaunted all over social media. (Bobbitt) tells me they had a Louis Vuitton bag and Chanel sunglasses, a new iPhone 10, said Philadelphia lawyer Jacqueline Promislo, who was representing the man pro bono, to the New York Post.

In September, Bobbitts attorneys said all of the money had disappeared, and Bobbitt ended up back on the streets. So he decided to sue the couple for fraud in August. McClure and DAmico claimed they had been parsing the money out because they were afraid Bobbitt would waste it all on drugs. Ultimately, a court ordered that the couple turn over the remainder of the fortune to Bobbitt — but by September, they still had not complied, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Then, GoFundMe stepped in and promised Bobbitt would receive the balance of the funds. In a statement to NBC News, representatives for the company said, GoFundMes goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves. … Were fulfilling that commitment today and we will continue to work with Johnnys team to make sure hes receiving all donated amounts. Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to GoFundMe to confirm that the money was delivered to Bobbitt and will update this story when we hear back.

They deliberately prevented donors from knowing information that would affect their judgement about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort, the complaint claims.

In the meantime, all of the attention the scandal received apparently led authorities to launch an investigation into the case. In September, police raided the couples home and seized their BMW. Investigators concluded that the alleged scam was even worse than what was originally suspected — McClure and DAmico had conspired with Bobbitt to concoct an elaborate ruse in order to con unsuspecting donors who were moved by their fictional feel-good story, according to a complaint obtained by NBC Philadelphia. Investigators say they even deliberately hid information that might affect the judgment of potential GoFundMe donors.

A couple and a homeless man are facing charges after allegedly making up a story that led to them raising $400,000 on GoFundMe. Pictured, Kate McClure and Johnny Bobbitt

As of Wednesday, DAmico and McClure had turned themselves in to Burlington County prosecutors,  NBC Philadelphia reported, but its unknown whether or not Bobbitt had as well. Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to Bobbitts attorneys for comment and will update the story when they respond.

Video: Announcement Expected On Homeless GoFundMe Account

Authorities are expected to announce charges against the three — including conspiracy and theft by deception later — sometime on Wednesday, according to NBC News.