A New Jersey couple accused of scamming a homeless man out of hundreds of thousands of dollars raised through a viral GoFundMe campaign initially conspired with him to make up a fake story, according to authorities.
Prosecutors say Mark D'Amico, Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt conspired with one another to make up a false story. Investigators say they deliberately deceived donors by preventing them from acquiring information that would affect their judgment about the campaign and "by failing to correct their story."
D'Amico and McClure were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception. Bobbitt was arrested by the Philadelphia police and has been transferred to Burlington County, New Jersey, to face charges related to the GoFundMe case. He will also be charged with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
In 2017, the couple claimed that Bobbitt, a homeless Marine veteran, used his last $20 to help McClure get gas when her car ran out on an interstate in Philadelphia. A GoFundMe campaign supposedly meant to support Bobbitt eventually raised over $400,000 from 14,000 contributors.
"Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn't repay him at that moment because I didn't have any cash, but I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks," McClure wrote in her post. "I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day. He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more."
Bobbitt later sued the couple over mismanaging the funds, claiming they used the money as their "personal piggy bank." The couple denied wrongdoing and accused Bobbitt of spending $25,000 in less than two weeks on drugs, legal bills and family.
In September, GoFundMe promised Bobbitt that he would receive the rest of the money owed to him. After the news of their arrests, GoFundMe says it will offer full refunds to all who donated.