N.J. couple, homeless man charged over ‘fictitious and illegal’ GoFundMe campaign
A couple conspired with a homeless man on a story about him offering the last of his money when the woman’s car ran out of gas and then set up a fraudulent GoFundMe account to scam sympathizers, law enforcement said Wednesday.
Mark D’Amico, his girlfriend, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt have each been charged with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception, each which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
D’Amico, McClure and Bobbit have surrendered to Burlington County prosecutors. According to the Burlington County Prosecutor, the three conspired to compel voters to donate money for the purpose of purchasing a reliable vehicle, affording first and last month’s rent on an apartment, among other things.
WATCH BELOW: Prosecutor outlines how New Jersey couple, homeless man defrauded GoFundMe donors.
The prosecutor stated that the couple exchanged several texts discussing the fraudulence of their plan, and encouraging each other to keep quiet about it as it continued to go viral.
The story of D’Amico, McClure and Bobbitt went viral in November 2017, the prosecutor stated. McClure said she ran out of gas in Philadelphia when she encountered Bobbitt, who gave her his final $20 so she could fill the tank of her vehicle.
WATCH BELOW: All three accused of GoFundMe fraud have been arrested: police
The couple then started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt. It drew more than $400,000 in donations. Bobbit was allotted $75,000 of the earnings, though brought a lawsuit against D’Amico and McClure asserting that he wanted an equal cut. The prosecutor stated that had the three not begun fighting over the money, “there’s a very good chance” they might have gotten away with the scheme.
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In September, Bobbitt sued the couple, accusing them of withholding money from him and instead spending it on themselves. Bobbitt’s lawyer says his client received about $75,000.
D’Amico and McClure said they were rationing the money to keep Bobbitt from using it on “something stupid.”
Bobbitt lived for a short time on the couple’s property in a camper purchased for him but later was told to leave and became homeless again. He admitted he still struggled with drug addiction in April but now says he’s clean, the Courier Post reports.
WATCH BELOW: Judge orders couple who raised $400K for homeless man to turn over funds
Prosecutors have been focusing on D’Amico and McClure and their home in Florence, N.J., was raided in September, nj.com reports. A new BMW, jewelry and cash were seized in the raid, according to NBC Philadelphia.
The money raised reportedly is all gone although it’s unclear where it went.
© 2018 The Canadian Press