Charges are being filed against the homeless vet and couple who raised $400,000 for him online

The heart warming story of a homeless veteran who saved a woman was all a scheme to make money, prosecutors in New Jersey say.
In this November 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt, a homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia drew worldwide attention, filed suit against D'Amico and McClure, the couple who led a $400,000 GoFundMe fundraising campaign to help him, contending the couple mismanaged donations and committed fraud by taking contributed money for themselves. (Elizabeth Robertson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS) 1239517
In this November 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt, a homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia drew worldwide attention, filed suit against D'Amico and McClure, the couple who led a $400,000 GoFundMe fundraising campaign to help him, contending the couple mismanaged donations and committed fraud by taking contributed money for themselves. (Elizabeth Robertson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS) 1239517
Published November 15 2018
Updated November 15 2018

The homeless veteran and couple who raised $400,000 for him through GoFundMe are now facing criminal charges in Burlington County, N.J., where prosecutors say the whole thing was a ruse.

It was one of last year’s most heartwarming feel-good stories: A homeless veteran gives his last $20 to a woman who ran out of gas along Interstate 95 in Jersey, so she and her boyfriend start a GoFundMe campaign to pay back his kindness and raise $400,000.

Then things got weird.

The man, John Bobbitt, sued the couple for spending all his cash on cars, shopping sprees and vacations. Then GoFundMe said it’d pay it out to him and New Jersey authorities seized cars and evidence from Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico’s home.

But prosecutor Scott Coffina was not done. Following the September raid, Coffina said the investigation would continue. His office announced a major update in the case would be released Thursday afternoon, but multiple news outlets in Philadelphia that cover the South Jersey area said the three now face charges of conspiracy and theft by deception.

According to a Philadelphia NBC affiliate, the whole story was a scheme to get cash. Bobbitt and the couple worked together to concoct the tale and gain sympathy and cash.

It worked.

The November 2017 campaign went viral and the three became famous, even making appearances on TV shows. More than 14,000 people raised more than $400,000. The initial goal was $10,000.

But the partnership began to unravel after that.

The last year has been wrought with allegations of theft and wrongdoing between the parties, leading to more attention. Coffina said it was that public interest that prompted him to investigate further, ultimately raiding the couple’s home and learning of the ruse, according to local outlets.

NBC reported that D’Amico and McClure turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday, but Bobbitt’s whereabouts were unknown.

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @dansuscripts.

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