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Man accused of using homeless vet’s funds says what happened will become ‘crystal clear’

Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico on December 5, 2017. (David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

Mark D’Amico, the Burlington County, N.J., man accused of taking GoFundMe donations meant for Johnny Bobbitt Jr., said Tuesday he looks forward to explaining what happened to the money, saying it would become “crystal clear” how the funds were spent.

D’Amico, 39, made his comments without elaborating further after a brief appearance in court in Burlington City for traffic offenses that resulted in his license being suspended.

Municipal Court Judge Dennis P. McInerney postponed the hearing until Oct. 9 to give D’Amico time to restore his license and to go to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to find out whether he is eligible to have his driving privileges reinstated.

“I can’t wait to talk, but I can’t do it right now,” said D’Amico, dressed in a black hoodie and shorts and his baseball cap on backward. Reporters followed him to a dark blue Jeep in the parking lot where he was picked up. “I’m letting the cops do their job right now.”

D’Amico was arrested Sept. 10 on a bench warrant after he twice failed to show up for municipal court hearings related to minor traffic offenses. He was held briefly in the Burlington County Jail a week ago before posting $500 bail. Police arrested him at his home in rural Florence Township.

D’Amico and his girlfriend, Kate McClure, 28, are under a criminal investigation that began after Bobbitt alleged last month that the couple had squandered much of the $400,000 collected through GoFundMe. Bobbitt has since sued the D’Amico and McClure, who were ordered by a judge to turn over what remains of the money.

The couple’s lawyer has said all the GoFundMe donations are gone. Earlier this month, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, with Florence police, executed a search warrant at the couple’s house and confiscated cash, jewelry, a BMW and financial records.

The couple have denied using the money for their personal use and said they did all they could to help Bobbitt.

Crowded by reporters Tuesday, D’Amico said when he does talk about how the money was used, it will be “crystal clear” what happened to the donations.

As tensions grew between the couple and Bobbitt, D’Amico was arrested earlier this year on the traffic violations.

According to a Florence municipal clerk, D’Amico was arrested in May after he was pulled over for a broken taillight on his vehicle. At that time, he had already been cited by Burlington City police for driving with a suspended license in October 2017. In May, McClure posted $500 bail to free her boyfriend, but D’Amico twice failed to appear in court in June and another arrest warrant was issued. Because he did not show up, the couple had to forfeit the bail money, the clerk said.

It was not immediately clear why D’Amico’s license had been suspended, said Burlington City Police Capt. John J. Fine. When he was pulled over in October, police noted during the traffic stop that he was wanted in Jersey City for driving with a suspended license.

Last fall, McClure and D’Amico created the GoFundMe account to help Bobbitt after he had spent his last $20 to buy McClure gas when she was stranded on an I-95 ramp in Philadelphia. At the time, Bobbitt was homeless and panhandling.

McClure has told reporters that she was on her way to meet friends in Philadelphia when she ran out of gas. More recently, Bobbitt has said McClure was actually on her way to SugerHouse Casino to pick up D’Amico. Bobbitt has said he feared D’Amico gambled with donations. D’Amico has said he used $500 of the donations when he forgot his SugarHouse card, but quickly repaid the money with his winnings.

After the story went viral last year, the couple heard from thousands around the world who wanted to help. McClure and D’Amico promised they would use the donations to buy Bobbitt a house and a truck and to help turn his life around.

This summer, however, Bobbitt, who briefly served in the Marines, told reporters of his suspicions that the couple were using the GoFundMe money to pay for expensive vacations, shopping sprees, and a BMW, adding he saw very little of the money.

Bobbitt also said that he had been kicked out of a drug-treatment program in Camden because D’Amico had been driving him to the outpatient program every day until D’Amico was arrested earlier this year. The SUV the couple bought for Bobbitt was also titled in McClure’s name and Bobbitt said he was not allowed to drive it. Instead, D’Amico used it until it broke down, Bobbitt said.

In an interview with a Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News reporter last month, D’Amico said Bobbitt was using donations to buy drugs, and that’s why he was cut off from the GoFundMe donations. He blamed Bobbitt for getting kicked out of the rehab program. Bobbitt has since started a residential treatment program.

D’Amico said that on the day of his arrest earlier this year, he gave Bobbitt $40 to take the train to Camden.


© 2018 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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