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GoFundMe for homeless vet raises $400k, creators keep most of it

View south along U.S. Route 1 at the exit for Interstate 95 South (Philadelphia). (Famartin/WikiCommons)
August 31, 2018

A woman set up a GoFundMe account last October to raise money for a homeless vet who gave her his last $20 for gas to get home when she ran out on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.

Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, wanted to show their appreciation to Johnny Bobbitt for saving the day, so they set up the GoFundMe, CBS 6 News reported.

They raised a total of $402,706 within nine months for Bobbitt, but he has not seen most of the money.

Bobbitt’s lawyer Chris Fallon said: “From what I can see, the GoFundMe account raised $402,000 and GoFundMe charged a fee of approximately $30,000. Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure gave Johnny about $75,000. There should be close to another $300,000 available to Johnny.”

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Fallon and attorney Jacqueline Promislo are trying to secure a guardian to manage the raised money so the 14,000 contributors know where their donations went, and the lawyers will work towards getting it back.

GoFundMe misuse is uncommon, but the crowdfunding website “is looking into the claims regarding this campaign.”

They released a statement: “When there is a dispute, we work with all parties involved to ensure funds go to the right place. We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors’ intentions are honored.”

With the raised funds, Bobbitt was supposed to get a house, but instead, the couple bought him a camper and parked it in their New Jersey driveway.

Bobbitt wanted to go home to North Carolina where he would have more resources available to him. This is when problems arose between Bobbitt and McClure.

Bobbitt’s lawyer said: “He had no access to money or food while living in the camper or the ability to take care of himself there.”

McClure and D’Amico bought a truck that was supposed to belong to Bobbitt, however, the couple drove the truck which eventually broke down.

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The couple, who has been unavailable for comment, said in an earlier interview that Bobbitt suffers from a drug addiction. They said they have given Bobbitt at least half of what was raised and are holding the remaining funds until he is employed and drug-free.

Fallon confirmed his client’s drug problem and said, “It’s not heroin or opioids but another drug problem.”

D’Amico said he oversees the money and he defends withholding the money from Bobbitt. He compares giving such a large amount of money to an addict to that of giving someone a loaded gun.

The couple purchased a brand new BMW and vacationed in California, Florida and Las Vegas since the money was raised, but claim they didn’t spend any of the raised money.

Bobbitt, who is a North Carolina native, studied nursing and was a former paramedic, firefighter, and U.S. Marine. He currently lives on the streets in Philadelphia.

Bobbitt allegedly completed a methadone program and detoxed himself.