Homeless man in $400,000 GoFundMe benefit arrested

Saul Bowman
November 16, 2018

The couple-Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure-launched the GoFundMe campaign in November a year ago, claiming it was for a man called Johnny Bobbitt Jr. who, they said, gave McClure his last $20 to get home safe after her auto ran out of gas while she was driving into Philadelphia.

In October of 2017, McClure started a GoFundMe campaign that claimed she'd run out of gas on the interstate when Bobbitt, who was allegedly homeless, approached her auto.

According to NBC Philadelphia, a source familiar with the case says Mark D'Amico, his girlfriend, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt will face charges that include conspiracy and theft by deception.

Prosecutors say they will be pursuing jail time in this case.

She said she ran out of gas in Philadelphia and was stuck on the highway when a homeless man named Johnny Bobbitt gave her his last $20.

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. "He walked up and he said, 'Get back in the auto".

The couple then started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt.

A Philadelphia prisons spokeswoman says Johnny Bobbitt was brought in Wednesday night by US marshals and remained in custody Thursday on probation detainers and a $50,000 bond.

D'Amico, 39, and McClure, 28, surrendered to authorities Wednesday night and were released. "And he has our sympathy and concern for the homelessness he's experienced", Coffina said. "I wasn't expecting anything in return", Bobbitt, 34, told "Good Morning America". It was not until Wednesday, however, that it became clear Bobbitt was also a suspect.

A legal stoush began when Bobbitt said he was at the mercy of McClure and D'Amico, who doled out about $100,000 to him bit by bit, according to local news station WPVI-TV.

The story of the trio's chance meeting - the selflessness of a destitute man and the altruism of the couple hoping to get him back on his feet - was "irresistibly heartwarming", Coffina observed, adding that it successfully "hoodwinked a lot of people" and bilked them out of generous donations made in good faith.

In August, Bobbitt sued, claiming he never received most of the $400,000 raised but rather only $75,000 including a $18,350 trailer parked at the home of D'Aminco and McClure.

Thursday afternoon, officials in Burlington County announced charges against Mark D'Amico, Katelyn McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt.

GoFundMe promised Coffina it would give a full refund to all of the people who donated to the campaign for Bobbitt.

More than 14,000 people donated, many inspired by the story's details, such as Mr Bobbitt instructing Ms McClure to lock her vehicle doors before he returned with a can of petrol.

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