Just days after a judge ordered a Jersey couple’s assets frozen after they raised over $400,000 for a homeless veteran (who had shown them considerable kindness) to get his life back together and failed to give him the money, the case took the worst possible turn.
Last October, Bobbitt came across Kate McClure after she had become stranded on the side of I-95 in a bad section of Philadelphia. Even though he was living on the streets, he used his last 20 dollars to buy her some gasoline so that she could get home.
To thank him, McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help Bobbitt get off the streets. The original goal was to raise $10,000, but the story went mega-viral and the campaign ultimately raised a total of $403,000.
But McClure and D’Amico never gave Bobbitt the money. Instead, they took charge of it and bought him the things that they thought he “needed”.
Bobbitt accused the couple of fraud, alleging that the two committed fraud and conspiracy by taking large amounts of the donations to “enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford” and using the account as “their personal piggy bank,” and asked a judge to appoint a supervisor to manage the money in the fundraising account.
And last Thursday a judge gave the South Jersey couple less than a day to hand over what’s left of the $400,000 they raised through a GoFundMe campaign for Johnny Bobbitt Jr.
Today, as The Inquirer reports, Bobbitt’s attorney Chris Fallon said he was told the money is all gone.
Fallon said he learned of the missing money in a conference call Tuesday morning with lawyers for Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, the Burlington County couple accused of mismanaging the money raised for Bobbitt.
“It completely shocked me when I heard,” said Fallon. “It came as a complete surprise to me.”
Word of the missing money came on the same day Bobbitt’s lawyers asked a judge to impose sanctions on the couple after the pair missed a court-ordered deadline to hand over the remaining GoFundMe money.
The couple told the Inquirer and Daily News last month that about $200,000 of the money remained.
The balance, they said, had been spent to help Bobbitt.
Bobbitt’s attorneys say he has received closer to $75,000, including the cost of the camper and an SUV, both since sold.
D’Amico admitted spending $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble at SugarHouse Casino, but he said he paid it back with his winnings.
Jacqueline Promislo, one of Bobbitt’s three pro bono lawyers, said in a phone interview as they mulled further legal action: “We’re really concerned about the flight risk.” The lawyers asked the judge to issue sanctions requiring D’Amico and McClure to remain in New Jersey, surrender their passports, post a bond, and be barred from spending any money in their bank accounts.
According to the application for sanctions, D’Amico and McClure failed to comply with the court’s 24-hour deadline “without explanation or request for extension.”
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Withorne said Tuesday that the company had deposited $20,000 into the escrow account created by Bobbitt’s attorneys to provide assistance for him while an investigation into the case proceeds. The Inquirer reports that Fallon said the $20,000 will be used for six months of housing and food for Bobbitt.
“We are working with law enforcement officials to ensure Johnny receives all of the funds raised on his behalf,” Withorne said.
“While we assist law enforcement with their ongoing investigation, GoFundMe is also working with Johnny’s legal team to ensure he’s receiving support while the remaining funds are being recovered.”
As for donors, if GoFundMe determines that donations were misused, the company says it refunds individual contributions of up to $1,000.
Finally, some potentially good news is that Bobbitt’s legal team says that they were able to enroll their client in a 28-day residential detox program on Monday.