Couple and "homeless veteran" charged in alleged GoFundMe scam

Katelyn Mc Clure and Johnny Bobbitt Jr are said to have hatched the scheme together

Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico were behind a GoFundMe campaign that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Johnny Bobbitt. They claim Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure conspired with Johnny Bobbitt to defraud people out of more than $400,000.

The story claimed that Bobbitt, a former Marine and first responder, spent his last $20 to help McClure buy gas after her vehicle broke down on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia.

After scouring more than 67,000 texts on the couple's phones, officials discovered a text exchange between McClure and a friend written less than an hour after the GoFundMe page went live that appears to confirm it was all a hoax.

McClure posted the heartwarming rescue story on social media, directing people to a GoFundMe page set up to collect funds ostensibly to help Bobbitt get a leg up in life.

But new developments emerged in August, when Bobbitt sued the couple, claiming they withheld the money from him and that they used it for their own vacations and luxury goods.

In other texts, the couple discussed their inability to pay bills and their mounting debts. Had the homeless Marine veteran not started a highly publicized litigious battle over the money, "there's a good chance they might have gotten away with it", Coffina said.

Officials said on Thursday they believe the photo was staged after the three met previously when Ms McClure and Mr D'Amico visited a casino near an underpass where Mr Bobbitt spent time. "And he has our sympathy and concern for the homelessness he's experienced", Coffina said. Bobbitt received $75,000, and within months McClure and D'Amico had "squandered" their share to buy a auto, high-end handbags and trips, Coffina said. They each face five to 10 years in prison if found guilty prosecutor, Scott A. Coffina, said. "So shush about the made up stuff", she said, according to Coffina.


GoFundMe said they plan on refunding any of the money donated to the trio's campaign.

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

The couple said during the campaign that the money would go to financial trusts, a financial adviser and a lawyer for Mr. Bobbitt.

"Campaigns with misuse make up less than one tenth of one percent of all campaigns", said Bobby Whitthorne, spokesperson for GoFundMe, in an email statement.

"Campaigns with misuse make up less than one-tenth of 1% of all campaigns", he said. The couple countered by saying that they were keeping the money from Bobbitt so as to prevent him from spending it on a resurfacing heroin habit and accused him of stealing. It seemed like his life had changed with the help he had received from the campaign.

The charges are the latest turn in a saga that has unfolded over more than a year, capturing media headlines as the heart-rending story took off at lightning speed, and then began to crumble after Bobbitt filed a lawsuit against the couple.

Bobbitt's attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, told The New York Post in September that the couple started to spend the money right after depositing it into their bank account. She claimed Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas. Prosecutors say the cash was "squandered" on shopping sprees, travel, cash withdrawals, and gambling.

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