The prosecutor’s office believes that they have conspired and deceived 14,000 users of the platform GoFundMe, inventing a sad story.
The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office has accused homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, as well as Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, who collected 400 thousand dollars for him, in a conspiracy to steal by deception. They were arrested and now the Americans face up to 10 years in prison. It is reported byCBS News, with reference to the press conference of the prosecutor’s office.
According to investigators, Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico invented a touching story about the Good Samaritan, to deceive users. According to Attorney Scott Coffina (Scott Coffina), the entire fundraising campaign “was based on lies.”
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It might look too good to be true, and, unfortunately, it was not.[/perfectpullquote]
On GoFundMe, McClure claimed that she decided to help Bobbitt when she ran out of gas on I-95 and the homeless bought her a can for the last $ 20. However, the prosecutor’s office claims that there was nothing of this: in one of his correspondence with friends, McClure even asked them to “keep quiet” about the false story.
According to investigators, the trio actually met a month before the start of the campaign in one of the local casinos, where they all often spent time. During the meeting, McClure, her boyfriend D’Amico and Bobbitt conspired to come up with a story to raise funds that would “affect” potential donors.
For the festive season of 2017, 403 thousand dollars were collected to help the homeless. The campaign was sponsored by about 14 thousand people from around the world.
As it turned out, McClure and D’Amico spent most of their money on expensive bags, jewelry and a new year celebration in Las Vegas. According to a bank statement, the couple withdrew a total of about $ 85,000 in cash near a casino in Atlantic City, Bensalem, Philadelphia and Las Vegas.
As noted in CBS News, a good story began to collapse because of a dispute over the division of money. In September 2018, Bobbitt sued a couple in court, accusing McClure and D’Amico of cheating and using his money as a “personal piggy bank” to lead a luxurious lifestyle.
By March 2018, less than 10 thousand dollars remained on the McClure and D’Amico maps. How much money Bobbitt spent and whether he received his share in the prosecutor’s office did not specify.
Each side of the conflict told its own version of what happened to the money. According to the lawyer Bobbitt, he received only 75 thousand dollars, and the couple’s lawyer said that he was transferred 200 thousand dollars.
McClure and D’Amico did not deny that they donated all the money to the homeless, but they believed that they had done everything correctly, because otherwise he would have spent all on drugs. Bobbitt, at the same time, did not deny that he was using drugs, but said that it did not take more than $ 15 a day.
Bobbitt’s lawsuit was the reason for the proceedings , to which the prosecutor’s office and GoFundMe as one of the parties joined. The chief judge of the district decided to start a search for funds, after which McClure and D’Amico searchedthe house to find out where the money went.
At the same time, this did not prevent the couple from selling the rights to a book about their “act of charity,” Coffin said at a press conference. It should go under the title “Nothing good.”
GoFundMe has pledged to repay the lost money to investors. Prior to that, she was going to return to Bobbitt what McClure and D’Amico had not paid him.