Investigators have determined that a New Jersey couple who went viral for running a GoFundMe campaign to help a homeless veteran will face charges – along with the homeless veteran himself.
The couple, Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure, along with homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, will face charges of conspiracy and theft by deception for allegedly conspiring to run the GoFundMe campaign, which raised more than $400,000 from about 14,000 donations, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported Wednesday.
Correction: charges are expected to be announced in the Johnny Bobbitt investigation today. NBC10, citing a law enforcement document, reported that Bobbitt and the couple who set up the GoFundMe page will face charges. https://t.co/Qp9KeP3ggS pic.twitter.com/2fiFrwRbLo
— Philly.com (@phillydotcom) November 15, 2018
NBC 10 obtained the documents, which state that the three knowingly withheld information from GoFundMe donors “that would affect their judgment about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort.”
Both D’Amico and McClure have surrendered to Burlington County authorities, a source familiar with the case told NBC 10. It’s not yet clear if Bobbitt surrendered as well.
An announcement is expected to be made Thursday from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, the New York Post reported.
In 2017, the couple’s story went viral. Homeless veteran Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas. McClure later returned to repay Bobbitt and further helped him with necessities over the following several weeks.
Bobbitt served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was later a paramedic and firefighter who had studied nursing.
McClure started a GoFundMe page for him, which raised $400,000 from more than 14,000 donors. After fees, the sum amounted to approximately $360,000.
In August, Bobbitt filed a lawsuit against the couple, alleging he only received $75,000 of the funds, and requested the remaining amount be handed over to him. He said in court that he suspected the GoFundMe money was used to make the purchase of a BMW car that the couple had, as well as vacations and other items.
The couple and their attorney insisted Bobbitt received more than $200,000, which he reportedly spent on a truck and camper, along with drugs and gambling. They claimed to be safeguarding the rest of the money from Bobbitt due to his drug addiction, which he admitted to fueling with some of the money.
A court ordered the couple to turn over the money to Bobbitt, but the couple’s attorney said there was no money left, despite having claimed $150,000-$200,000 remained in the account.
Bobbitt’s attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, said in September that the couple immediately began spending the money from the beginning.
“They went on shopping sprees,” Promislo said, according to the New York Post. “[Bobbitt] tells me they had a Louis Vuitton bag and Chanel sunglasses, a new iPhone 10.”
Law enforcement raided the couple’s home in September, confiscating their BMW and numerous bags of items that were suspected to be purchased using the funds raised by the GoFundMe campaign.