Alleged GoFundMe scammer blames $400k con on boyfriend
What started off as a heartwarming story in 2017 has quickly unravelled, revealing some far more sinister. In December 2017, Kate McClure's story went viral after she was helped by a homeless man when her car broke down. She and her partner, Mark D'Amico, started a GoFundMe for the man, Johnny Bobbitt, after he donated his last $20 to get her home.
Eventually, the number reached over $400,000, giving them plenty of money to change Johnny's life.Unfortunately, their plans to buy him a house were not entirely true, as it was later revealed that Bobbitt had not received the majority of the money raised for him.
Bobbitt claimed that McClure and D'Amico were withholding his money, which led to him heading back to the streets and turning to drug use.
Speaking to The Inquirer, at the time, D'Amico said that giving him the money would be like "giving him a loaded gun" while he's still addicted. "Giving him all that money, it's never going to happen," he said. "I'll burn it in front of him."
It later became known, however, that the rest of the money had been used by the couple on various pleasures such as gambling, vacations, and a new BMW. However, now it appears that Bobbitt was in on the con too, despite genuinely being a homeless man from the area.
“The entire campaign was predicated on a lie,” prosecutor Scott Coffina said when the criminal charges against D’Amico, McClure, and Bobbitt were announced.
“[McClure] did not run out of gas on an I-95 off-ramp, and [Bobbitt] did not spend his last $20 to help her. Tather, D’Amico, McClure and Bobbitt conspired to fabricate and promote a feel-good story that would compel donors to contribute to their cause.”
Text messages revealed that the story about running out of gas was fabricated, as even an hour after the story was posted, McClure spoke to a friend about the scam. “The gas part is completely made up … but the guy isn’t,” she wrote. “I had to make something up to make people feel bad … So, shush about the made up part.”
“My mother just called me and said that people go to jail for scamming others out of money. So there’s that,” she later texted her friend. “That’s what my own mother thinks of me.”
Later, her friend suggested that they give the money they owed to Bobbitt to get the public off their backs, but she simply replied, “I’ll be keeping the rest of the money, f**k you very much.”
However, soon enough, the money they raised was dwindling, while D'Amico tried to get a book deal to help them get the money back. However, once Bobbitt took his claims to court, investigators seized bank statements and over thousands of text messages, at which point it was revealed they had spent $80,000 in Vegas and $5,000 on trips to Disney World.
Now that the trio have been accused of conning those who donated, D'Amico and McClure have now split, and now Kate is insisting that she was "set up" by both of them. “Mr. D’Amico knew that I was a very kind person and that I was a bit naive,” McClure said. “Mr. D’Amico took advantage of that.”
They are accused of pocketing $367,108.81 of the campaigns money, but McClure's family are still sticking by her. “Kelly and I are fully supportive of our daughter,” her father explained. “She’s doing as best as she can.”