US Couple's GoFundMe Plea for Homeless Vet 'Predicated on Lies'

FILE Johnny Bobbitt left with couple Kate Mc Clure and Mark D'Amico

Moved by Bobbitt's kind gesture, McClure and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico launched a GoFundMe page for the man, to raise money for a vehicle, rent on an apartment, and four to six months' worth of expenses. Bobbitt hired a pro-bono attorney, who announced that instead of the full $402,000, Bobbitt only received $75,000, which he used for a camper and an SUV, instead of actual housing. McClure did not run out of petrol. Bobbitt did not spot her in trouble and give her money. 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.

The home of Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure was searched in September over disputes arose over what happened to the money.

Inspired by Bobbitt's selflessness, McClure and D'Amico launched a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $10,000 to get him an apartment, a vehicle and cover four to six months of expenses.

The US protagonists in a viral "pay it forward" fundraising campaign for a homeless man have been charged with theft by deception and conspiracy.

In response, McClure and D'Amico said that they withheld money from Bobbitt out of concern for him and said that Bobbitt was giving money away and spending more on drugs.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie", said prosecutor Scott Coffina.

Following earlier legal turmoil, the couple reportedly turned themselves in to authorities on Wednesday and will face charges for allegedly conspiring with the man to make up a heartwarming story in order to crowdfund the fortune, according to newly reported court documents.

"I had to make something up to make people feel bad", McClure said in a text - one of 60,000 reviewed by prosecutors - to a friend.

Bobbitt later sued the couple, and prosecutors began investigating.

There were 14,000 contributors to the GoFundMe campaign who will likely now be feeling ripped off.

McClure said that in an attempt to thank Bobbitt for his help, she set up the fundraising page, which brought in more than $400,000 United States and landed them in the national and global news.

But in August, a judge ordered McClure and D'Amico to turn over what is left of the cash.

In a statement, a spokesman for the crowdfunding site confirmed donors will receive a refund. He later filed a lawsuit against McClure and D'Amico.

The money was put into the couple's personal accounts, his lawyers said.

In September, Bobbitt's attorneys said all of the money had "disappeared", and Bobbitt ended up back on the streets.

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