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Homeless Vet Says He Got Scammed Out of $200K Raised for Him on GoFundMe

After he used his last $20 to help a woman who ran out of gas on the side of the highway.

by Drew Schwartz
Aug 24 2018, 10:05pm

Update (11/15): The original story behind the GoFundMe was allegedly bogus: McClure, D'Amico, and Bobbitt have been accused of making it up in an effort to scam people out of thousands of dollars. According to NBC Philadelphia, they'll now reportedly face charges of conspiracy and theft by deception.

Last year, homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt used his last $20 to buy gas for a woman who wound up stranded on the side of the highway in Philadelphia, an act of kindness that went viral after she shared his story and started a GoFundMe to help him out. The thing wound up raising more than $400,000, but now Bobbitt is back on the streets—and as he tells it, the woman he helped is conning him out of $200,000 from the fundraiser.

When they started the GoFundMe back in October of 2017, Kate McClure and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico promised to use the money they raised to buy Bobbitt a house and a car, set up two trusts in his name, and help him open a bank account—all to make sure he would "never have to worry about a roof over his head again!" Instead, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, they put him up in a camper on their property in New Jersey, gave him a used SUV that wound up breaking down, and controlled how much money he got from the GoFundMe themselves.

Bobbitt—who's since left their property in Jersey, and returned to using drugs after two trips to rehab—told the Inquirer he hasn't seen anywhere close to the $200,000 the couple claims they gave him. Plus, he said, he thinks they're trying to keep whatever cash is left for themselves.

"I think it might have been good intentions in the beginning, but with that amount of money, I think it became greed," Bobbitt told the Inquirer.

For their part, McClure and D'Amico told the Inquirer they're withholding $200,000 from Bobbitt until he gets a job and stops using drugs—otherwise, D'Amico said, handing him the money would be like "giving him a loaded gun.” But as of now, there's no public record of how the fundraiser money has been used, and no formal plan for getting it to Bobbitt.

Now, GoFundMe is investigating exactly what the hell is up with Bobbitt's money: A spokesman told the Inquirer that it's "looking into the claims of misuse" and will "work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves." Meanwhile, two attorneys have taken up his case pro bono, the Inquirer reports.

"I think he is just a genuine, sincere person who has been the victim of so many bad circumstances," Jacqueline Promislo, Bobbitt's attorney, told the Inquirer. "We want to make sure he has the opportunity to benefit from the incredible generosity of people."

More than 14,000 people donated to Bobbitt's GoFundMe, and—like anyone who gives selflessly to someone in need—it's safe to say they want to make sure he benefits from their generosity too. His lawyers are looking into what legal options he might have—but in the meantime, Bobbitt's stuck living under a bridge in Philly, begging for change when, ostensibly, there's $200,000 out there with his name on it.

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