The story of the couple who raised hundreds of thousands for a homeless veteran, but then “stole” the money, is getting stranger. A new report now says that the whole story was a fraud all along and the couple conspired with the veteran to scam GoFundMe donors from the beginning.
New Jersey prosecutors now believe that Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure conspired with homeless man Johnny Bobbitt to scam people into donating to a GoFundMe campaign supposedly to benefit the veteran, according to the New York Post.
D’Amico and McClure have been taken into custody, but Bobbit is still at large, prosecutors said.
According to insiders, all three are set to be charged with conspiracy after investigators uncovered their GoFundMe scheme.
This story has had many twists and turns.
The couple made national news for starting a GoFundMe campaign for a homeless veteran and quickly raised $400,000 for the vet. But it wasn’t long before the couple was accused of stealing and spending most of that money.
When Katie McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, first met homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, they volunteered to start a GoFundMe campaign to benefit the man, NBC reported.
But the veteran soon accused the couple of withholding some of the more than $400,000 the campaign raised. In the ruling, a judge in New Jersey also ordered the couple to provide an accounting of all the money earned through the Internet fundraising campaign.
The couple became invested in helping the veteran when he gave them his last $20 when he saw McClure on the side of a Philadelphia highway after her car ran out of gas.
The relationship between the couple and the veteran soured when the veteran began claiming that the couple was spending the GoFundMe money on themselves and not on him.
For instance, Katie McClure raised eyebrows when she suddenly went on an expensive California vacation and then bought a brand new BMW car.
At one point, the couple did give the veteran about $25,000, but then they claimed they were holding back more because he has a dug problem and he is just wasting the cash.
By the end of August, a judge had ordered the couple to hand over the rest of the GoFundMe cash and provide a detailed accounting of where it all went.
But then news leaked that all the money was spent and the veteran got little of it. According to the vet’s lawyers, he only ever saw about $75,000 of the $400,000 donated to him.
A judge then ordered the couple to account for the cash. According to MSN:
A judge on Wednesday ordered a Burlington County, N.J., couple to testify under oath next week about what happened to the $400,000 they raised in a GoFundMe campaign to help a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. — money their lawyer says is gone and that Mr. Bobbitt says they squandered.
Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow directed Mr. Bobbitt’s team of pro bono lawyers to request financial statements from the pair before the court closed on Wednesday.
At the hearing, the couple’s lawyer told the judge they wanted to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
And now, all three are being accused of cooking this story up from the start!
What a drama.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.