Judge Orders Couple to Turn Over GoFundMe Money for Homeless Man
Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico of South Jersey became internet famous for raising $400K for homeless vet Johnny Bobbitt— but a judge now has questions about how that money has been spent.
The internet-famous couple who raised $400K for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. after he lent one of them a hand when her car broke down has been ordered to relinquish what’s left of the funds.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow has ordered 28-year-old Kate McClure and 35-year-old Mark D’Amico to transfer what remains of the money they obtained through a GoFundMe account set up for Bobbitt into an escrow account. They also must hire a forensic accountant to review their financial records within 10 days, according to Philly.com.
The order comes after attorneys for Bobbitt sued the couple on Tuesday, accusing them of committing fraud by using more than half of the money for themselves.
Here’s how the whole thing started: When McClure’s car broke down on I-95 late one night in November 2017, she ran into Bobbitt, a 35-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had been experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia for about a year. Bobbitt told her to stay in her car and lock her doors, then used his last $20 to buy her gas. Eventually, McClure returned the spot where she first saw Bobbitt and repaid him — and gave him food and clothing. Then she and her husband, D’Amico, set up a GoFundMe for Bobbitt. After their story spread and praise poured in from around the nation, they raised $400K from 14,000 people.
But as Philly.com first reported last week, the relationship between Bobbitt and the couple soon soured. The outlet reported that McClure and D’Amico claimed they had spent or given Bobbitt more than half of the money but were withholding what was left, roughly $200K. Bobbitt said they never gave him anywhere near the $200K they say they did. He’s now experiencing homelessness and struggling with a drug addiction once again.
Last week, D’Amico told the Inquirer that the couple is hesitant to give Bobbitt the funds because Bobbitt is experiencing addiction, stating that handing over the money would be like “giving him a loaded gun” and that he’d rather “burn it in front of him.” The couple has accused Bobbitt of spending $25,000 they gave him in just two weeks.
Now, the remaining funds must be transferred to an account managed by Bobbitt’s pro bono attorneys at Cozen O’Connor PC. The court will determine how the money will be managed. It’s not clear exactly how much money is left, but D’Amico recently told NBC Today that more than $150,000 remains.
Bobbitt is also seeking compensatory damages and interest, refunds of counsel fees and costs of the lawsuit, as well as accounting records of all funds donated to the GoFundMe account, per 6ABC.