An announcement Thursday from GoGundMe signals a happy ending to what has been an infuriating story. John Bobbitt, the homeless vet who spent his last $20 to help a stranded motorist, will be receiving all of the $400,000 supporters donated to help him get back on his feet. GoFundMe has now joined forces with the law firm representing Bobbitt and together they are ensuring Bobbitt will be compensated.
“Johnny will be made whole,” Bobby Whithorne, director of North America communications for GoFundMe, said in a statement, “and we’re committing that he’ll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from. GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets [the] support he deserves.”
“We’ll continue to assist with the ongoing law enforcement investigation,” the statement continued.
GoFundMe doesn’t typically involve itself in matters like this. They offer a window of time during which complaints or allegations of fraud may be made, but this case has been stretching on for months now. Yet they’ve announced their willingness to step in and help.
“This is an extremely rare situation, and we are working with law enforcement officials to get Johnny the money raised on his behalf, which means the 30-day policy does not apply in this case,” Whithorne continued.
Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico had set up the fundraiser and have been accused of stealing the money raised on Bobbitt’s behalf. McClure’s home in Florence, New Jersey was raided Wednesday. The $400,000 raised by the couple was meant to go to Bobbitt. It hasn’t. After news broke that some of the money had been spent by the couple, the media began digging into the story. Now it seems all of it is gone.
“Due to the enormous public interest in this matter,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A Coffina wrote in a statement, “I am confirming that a search warrant was executed early this morning by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Florence Township Police Department at the residence of Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt matter.”
“As of this time, there have been no charges filed. Further updates will be provided as circumstances warrant.”
As such, police showed up to search the premises. They also seized assets, including this car.
Last month, Bobbitt filed a lawsuit against McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, claiming that the couple was using money from the GoFundMe campaign on themselves. The donations were raised in Bobbitt’s name and were supposed to be used to help get the homeless veteran off the streets.
The couple was accused of withholding and misusing the money, prompting Bobbitt to take legal action.
Last Thursday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paula Dow ordered McClure and D’Amico to return the remaining funds from the campaign, directing them to send the cash to Bobbitt’s attorneys by Friday. Additionally, they were ordered to provide a full accounting of the money within a 10-day period.
At that point, the amount of money remaining was in dispute. Chris Fallon, Bobbitt’s attorney, estimated that over $250,000 should be left, though the couple asserted that far less remained.
The couple claimed that the money that was spent was used for Bobbitt’s benefit, including the purchase of a vehicle and a trailer, as well as cash given directly to Bobbitt. The couple’s attorney, Ernest Bradway, says that Bobbitt received $200,000 from the campaign in money, goods, and services.
However, Bobbitt and his attorney stated that the pair spent a significant portion of the cash on themselves, using the fund to finance lavish vacations and possibly McClure’s new vehicle, which the couple denies.
Additionally, Bobbitt asserts that he only received approximately $75,000 in goods, services, and money from the pair.
On Tuesday, Fallon discovered during a conference call that there is nothing left of the $400,000 in donations raised in his client’s name, according to a report by ABC 6.
Precisely how the money was spent is still unknown.
GoFundMe released a statement regarding the manner, saying that any money that was misspent by the couple is guaranteed by the company. This means, if some of the funds were misspent by the couple, GoFundMe will provide that amount to Bobbitt, ensuring he “receives all of the funds raised on his behalf.”
“It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected,” said GoFundMe the statement.
The crowdfunding platform is working with law enforcement, assisting in the investigation regarding the use of the funds. Additionally, GoFundMe has provided $20,000 to Bobbitt to “provide assistance during the investigation.”