One of the most heartwarming stories from 2017 was the feel-good tale of how a couple raised over $400,000 for a homeless man through GoFundMe. At the time of the story, it appeared like the goodwill would “restore your faith in humanity.” Boy, that may very well be the opposite. Because now, there are accusations that the couple stole a substantial amount of the $400K that was donated to the homeless man.
Around Thanksgiving last year, Katelyn McClure ran out of gas while driving on I-95 in New Jersey. Homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. gave Katelyn his last $20 and bought her gas so she could get home. Katelyn was extremely grateful so she set up a GoFundMe titled “Paying It Forward” so that others could help get Johnny back on his feet with financial donations.
The story went viral and was a nationwide phenomenon. Within a two weeks more than 14,000 Good Samaritans donated $402,706 on GoFundMe to help the 35-year-old homeless veteran who served in the Marine Corps. The original goal of $10,000 was blown away.
Flash forward to Thursday of this week, cops raided the home in Florence Township, NJ, of the couple who initiated the GoFundMe for the homeless man. Police towed away the couple’s new BMW and confiscated several bags and boxes from the home of McClure, 28, and Mark D’Amico, 39.
“Due to the enormous public interest in this matter, I am confirming that a search warrant was executed early this morning by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Florence Township Police Department at the residence of Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt matter,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a prepared statement. “As of this time, there have been no charges filed. Further updates will be provided as circumstances warrant.”
Of the $400K, Bobbitt only received about $75,000, which includes a camper and a 19-year-old pickup truck. However, McClure and D’Amico allegedly used the GoFundMe money to buy vacations, cars, and shopping sprees. The couple were claimed to have used the funds to “enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford.” The couple are alleged to have spent the homeless man’s money on a new BMW and trips to California, Florida, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. The couple denies these accusations.
Bobbitt has filed a civil lawsuit against the couple and the pre-trial kicked off on Wednesday. The couple’s lawyer insists that Bobbitt received $200,000 of the money raised online. The couple’s lawyer said that the couple will give Bobbitt the remainder of the money once he’s completed his drug addiction program, proves that he’s sober, and gets a job.
On Thursday, GoFundMe has stated that Bobbitt will receive the money one way or the other. “Johnny will be made whole and we’re committing that he’ll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from. GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets the support he deserves,” a representative for GoFundMe said in a statement. GoFundMe is assisting in the police investigation of the missing or misappropriated funds.
Last week, McClure and D’Amico appeared on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today and said that they used none of the money. They accused Bobbitt of spending $250,000 on family, a trailer, a truck, and drugs.
Let’s all hope that this is just all a big misunderstanding and that nobody was coldhearted enough to actually steal money belonging to a homeless veteran so that they could buy vacations and cars. Let’s hope.