While GoFundMe isn’t completely free of fraudulent fund raisers, it is close. And the company claims that the bad actors “make up less than one-tenth of 1 percent” of the total. To prove their good intentions, they have now refunded more than $400,000 to the 14,000 people who donated money to the fraudulent fundraiser that was supposedly meant to help homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, told reporters “all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior,” he said. “If fraud occurs, donors get refunded, and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money.”
The saga of a homeless Marine and the woman he helped rescue on the side of the highway took a grim turn when news broke that Kate McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico conspired with the veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, to turn his story into fodder for a viral GoFundMe campaign that more than 14,000 people donated to.
“McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt will all face charges including conspiracy and theft by deception,” The Daily Mail writes.
The charges come after a growing dispute over the $400,000 raised by the donations. Originally, the money was designated for Bobbitt. Later reports suggested that the money wasn’t being handled as advertised, and that D’Amico and McClure were spending the capital.
All three have be charged with conspiracy and theft by deception. Both McClure, D’Amico, and Bobbitt have surrendered to Burlington County prosecutors.
The complaint against the trio claims that the three hid information from the donors “that would affect their judgement about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort.”
If the three had managed to stay on good terms, the deception might have succeeded. Yet Bobbitt spoke out and claimed that McClure and D’Amico were mishandling the money.
Bobbitt sued the couple. The couple defended themselves publicly, claiming Bobbitt would have used the money to buy drugs and that they, by managing his funds, were looking out for his well-being. Bobbitt had, they argued, spent more than $25,000 on drugs in less than a month.
The couple did go so far as to buy him a camper which they placed on their property. Bobbitt lived there for a short time, but was reportedly back on the streets by mid-summer.
After that news went viral, law enforcement officials began scrutinizing everything. Just how and where the con game began has yet to be revealed. There may still be some truth in the origin, that Bobbitt did help McClure after she’d run out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.
The details will become public during their trials. Stay tuned. What seemed like a simple story of genuine human decency may yet have more surprises in store.