NJ couple, Good Samaritan homeless man charged with fraud over GoFundMe campaign

NJ couple, \Good Samaritan\ homeless man charged with fraud over GoFundMe campaign
Couple, homeless man charged in alleged scam
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, law enforcement said Wednesday.

Mark DAmico, his girlfriend, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt have each been charged with second-degree heft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception, each which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Homeless man, couple accused of conspiring in $400Gs GoFundMe scam

DAmico, McClure and Bobbit have surrendered to Burlington County prosecutors. According to the Burlington County Prosecutor, the three conspired to compel voters to donate money for the purpose of purchasing a reliable vehicle, affording first and last month’s rent on an apartment, among other things.

Investigators have been poring over the case since September. Almost a year after the money was raised, Bobbitt accused the couple of taking the money for themselves. He said that hed received around $75,000 but the rest was being withheld. At first, DAmico claimed that theyd given him closer to $200,000 and were simply afraid to give him the full amount at once because he has an admitted substance abuse problem. But after a judge ordered the couple to hand over the rest of the money, they claimed it was all gone.

The prosecutor stated that the couple exchanged several texts discussing the fraudulence of their plan, and encouraging each other to keep quiet about it as it continued to go viral.

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The story of DAmico, McClure and Bobbitt went viral in November 2017, the prosecutor stated. 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.

In September, GoFundMe told Gizmodo that it had decided that it would give Bobbitt the full balance of the remaining funds he was owed but the case has been in legal limbo ever since. When contacted on Thursday, a GoFundMe spokesperson told us that the company cant confirm the reports and will have a statement following the press conference this afternoon.

The couple then started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt. It drew more than $400,000 in donations. Bobbit was allotted $75,000 of the earnings, though brought a lawsuit against D’Amico and McClure asserting that he wanted an equal cut. The prosecutor stated that had the three not begun fighting over the money, “there’s a very good chance” they might have gotten away with the scheme.

Investigators searched the Florence, New Jersey, home of DAmico and McClure in September after questions arose about what happened to the money they raised for Bobbitt. The couple claimed he helped McClure get gas after she became stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia last year.

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.

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

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

Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina announced criminal charges against the couple who told the story to newspapers and television stations along with the homeless man who conspired with them to tell the story.

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.

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)

Johnny Bobbitt arrested in Philadelphia, charges expected in GoFundMe case

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.

Investigators searched the Florence, New Jersey, home of D'Amico and McClure in September after questions arose about what happened to the money they raised for Bobbitt. The couple claimed he helped McClure get gas after she became stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia last year.

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A feel-good tale of a homeless man using his last $20 to help a stranded New Jersey woman buy gas was actually a complete lie, manufactured to get strangers to donate more than $400,000 US dollars to help the down-and-out good Samaritan, a prosecutor said Thursday.

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — A feel-good tale of a homeless man using his last $20 to help a stranded New Jersey woman buy gas was actually a complete lie, manufactured to get strangers to donate more than $400,000 dollars to help the down-and-out good Samaritan, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina announced criminal charges against the couple who told the story to newspapers and television stations along with the homeless man who conspired with them to tell the story.

He said the money, donated to the homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, will be refunded to people who saw the story and contributed to him through a GoFundMe page set up by the couple, Mark DAmico and Katelyn McClure.

Video: Announcement Expected On Homeless GoFundMe Account

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie," Coffina said. "It was fictitious and illegal and there are consequences."

Video: Prosecutor To Announce Developments In GoFundMe Case Involving Homeless Veteran

Bobbitt was arrested Wednesday night by U.S. marshals in Philadelphia and remained in custody Thursday on probation detainers and a $50,000 bond. A message was left with a previous attorney of Bobbitts.

McClure and DAmico turned themselves in to Burlington County prosecutors on Wednesday, the source said. It was not clear if Bobbitt had turned himself in as well.

DAmico and McClure surrendered to authorities Wednesday night and were released. Their attorney said they have no comment. All were charged with theft by deception.

Video: Burlington County Prosecutor To Announce New Developments In GoFundMe

Investigators searched the Florence, New Jersey, home of DAmico and McClure in September after questions arose about what happened to the money they raised for Bobbitt. The couple claimed he helped McClure get gas after she became stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia last year.

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Homeless man, couple who gained fame through GoFundMe campaign accused of fabricating story

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 and landed them in the national news.

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.

Coffina said almost no part of the tale was true. McClure didnt run out of gas. Bobbitt didnt spot her in trouble and give her money.

Homeless man, couple allegedly conspired to deceive GoFundMe funds: report

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."

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Prosecutors began investigating after Bobbitt claimed he wasnt getting the money that had been raised on his behalf. He later sued the couple.

Its not exactly clear what happened with the money, though Bobbitts attorney has said its all gone.

While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences. Committing fraud, whether it takes place on or offline is against the law. We are fully cooperating and assisting law enforcement officials to recover every dollar withdrawn by Ms. McClure and Mr. D'Amico.  

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)

Coffina also added that D'Amico had sought to further enrich themselves off the fabricated story with a potential book deal. According to investigators, McClure had also texted a friend admitting what portions of their story were fake shortly after the fundraising page was created.