They invented a sad story about a veteran who gave the last money to help strangers. Now they face a prison sentence.
Homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt and Kate McClure admitted that they invented a sad story “about the good Samaritan,” which brought them more than 400 thousand dollars in crowdfunding. It is reported by the BBC.
According to the publication, the 36-year-old US military Bobbitt admitted to conspiring to launder money, and 28-year-old McClure – in fraud. The girl faces imprisonment for a term of 33 months, and a homeless person faces a term of between six and 30 months.
The fake homeless story was published by McClure and her then 39-year-old boyfriend D’Amico on the GoFundMe donation site for the 2017 holiday season. The girl claimed that she decided to help Bobbitt when she ran out of gas on the highway and the homeless bought her a can for the last $20. At that time, $403 thousand were raised to help the homeless, and about 14 thousand people from around the world sponsored the campaign.
A few months later it turned out that the couple had not transferred the full amount to Bobbit. The couple did not deny that they did not give all the money to the homeless person. According to them, they did everything right, because otherwise, he would have spent everything on drugs. Bobbitt himself did not deny his dependence either.
In September 2018, Bobbitt sued a couple in court, accusing McClure and D’Amico of deception. It turned out that the girl and her boyfriend spent a lot of time in the casino, greeted the new year in New York, and also bought a new BMW.
On September 6, police searched the McClure house and her boyfriend because of “heightened public interest,” and the district judge ordered the couple to appear at court hearings. On September 7, 2018, the GoFundMe platform announced that it would reimburse the homeless for most of the $400,000 appropriated by the fundraising initiators.
Later it turned out that all three participants met a month before the start of the donation campaign in one of the Burlington casinos. In November 2018, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office accused and arrested McClure, Bobbitt and Mark D’Amico for theft by deception. Participants were threatened with up to ten years in prison. GoFundMe promised to reimburse those who donated the lost money.