GoFundMe Steps Up to Plate in Homeless Samaritan Case

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CN) – Ahead of a hearing to suss out the fate of $400,000 that a New Jersey couple raised for a homeless man, the crowdfunding website GoFundMe vowed Thursday to make sure Johnny Bobbitt gets what he was promised.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left; Kate McClure, right; and McClure’s boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia on Nov. 17, 2017. Bobbitt, a homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia drew worldwide attention, filed suit against D’Amico and McClure, the couple who led a $400,000 GoFundMe fundraising campaign to help him, contending the couple mismanaged donations and committed fraud by taking contributed money for themselves. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

According to a joint statement sent to the Philadelphia Inquirer by Bobbitt’s legal counsel and GoFundMe late Thursday, the homeless former Marine will get an amount equal to the $400,000 raised last year on his behalf by Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure of Florence, New Jersey.

The couple began raising money for Bobbitt on GoFundMe after Bobbitt used his last $20 to buy McClure gas when she was stranded in Philadelphia. Bobbitt later filed a lawsuit, accusing the couple of mismanaging donations raised for him.

Though D’Amico and McClure said Bobbitt’s drug use made them wary of giving him the money all at once, Judge Paula Dow gave them 24 hours last week to turn over the balance.

With another hearing scheduled for Sept. 14, at which time D’Amico and McClure must give an accounting of the money they collected, Bobbitt’s lawyer said earlier this week that no money was transferred because it is all gone.

No charges have been filed, but authorities executed a search warrant earlier Thursday at D’Amico and McClure’s home.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina confirmed the criminal investigation due to the “enormous public interest” in the case.

McClure and D’Amico deny wrongdoing and deny Bobbitt’s claims.

Burlington County Superior Court Presiding Chancery Judge Paula T. Dow during a hearing in Mt. Holly, N.J., on Aug. 30, 2018. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON, The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

D’Amico previously told the Philadelphia Inquirer he spent $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble, but repaid the amount taken with his winnings. He said Bobbitt meanwhile spent $25,000 in less than two weeks in December. The money allegedly went toward drugs, overdue legal bills and Bobbitt’s family.

D’Amico and McClure couple also bought Bobbitt a camper with some of the funds and parked it on land McClure’s family owns in Florence. But Bobbitt became homeless again after D’Amico told him in June that he had to leave the property.

During an appearance Monday on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” show, D’Amico told Kelly there was well over $150,000 left of the donations.

Fallon said Bobbitt had received about $75,000, including the camper as well as a 1999 Ford Ranger.

Judge Dow has directed D’Amico and McClure to hire an accountant to review financial records. Once it is accounted for, the money from the fundraiser is set to be held in an account controlled by Bobbitt’s lawyers. Bobbitt will not be able to use the money until the judge determines how it will be managed.

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