Kate McClure told the world she ran out of gas and was left stranded on a highway in Philadelphia last year, when a homeless veteran gave her his last $20 to buy gas.
McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, started a GoFundMe campaign to pay veteran Johnny Bobbitt back. A year and $400,000 later, the story has taken a dramatic twist.
It was all a lie.
McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt are facing a number of charges, including conspiracy and theft by deception, NBC10 reports.
The GoFundMe campaign was originally advertised as a fund specifically for Bobbitt, but all three involved hid some crucial facts that may have changed the mind of some donors.
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In 2018, Bobbitt sued D’Amico and McClure, alleging they were mishandling the funds. The couple maintains they were only trying to keep the veteran from spending the money on drugs. According to D’Amico and McClure, Bobbitt spent at least $25,000 on drugs, overdue legal bills, and gifts for his family in less than a month.
Of the money Bobbitt did receive, some went towards a camper trailer on the couple’s property, where the veteran stayed until mid-summer when he was once again homeless.
The lawsuit led to multiple TV appearances for Bobbitt and McClure, both admitting their innocence. On social media, images showed D’Amico and McClure taking vacations to the Grand Canyon and DisneyLand. In September, police served a warrant on the couple’s home, seizing boxes of valuables and a new BMW as evidence, NBC Philadelphia reports.
Meanwhile Bobbitt was on the street.
The couple used the GoFundMe account as a “personal piggy bank,” Bobbitt said.
D’Amico told NBC’s Megyn Kelly that there was more than $150,000 left in the GoFundMe account, though Bobbitt’s attorney told the network that all the funds had been spent.
GoFundMe contributed $20,000 to a special account for Bobbitt, set up by his attorney, while working with law enforcement to make sure he was not being taken advantage of, and gets all the money he was promised.
Now, it seems he may have been in on the scam the whole time. All three are facing charges of conspiracy and theft by deception for their part in the campaign which may have defrauded more than 14,000 donors.
Learn more in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.