A heartwarming “good Samaritan” tale of a New Jersey couple that raised money for a homeless veteran had ended with indictments of all involved. Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico started a GoFundMe campaign for Johnny Bobbitt last year after sharing a story of how he supposedly offered his last $20 to help McClure when her car ran out of gas. The fundraiser collected over $400,000. But prosecutors now say it was all a scam from the beginning.
- Are a significant number of GoFundMe campaigns a scam?
- Would regulation of crowdfunding platforms keep money away from those who need it?
- Have you ever donated to a GoFundMe campaign?
A couple in New Jersey and a homeless veteran who captured international attention and praise for their warm “good Samaritan” story were arrested for fraud, an unexpected twist in a year-long story of good deeds that went wrong.
The woman, Katelyn McClure, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, launched a GoFundMe campaign last year for Johnny Bobbitt after sharing a story about how he supposedly offered his last $20 to help McClure out of gas when her car ran.
The fundraiser “Paying it Forward” was immensely popular, collecting more than $400,000 from more than 14,000 donors worldwide, but the feel-good story quickly began to unravel into a money dispute.
“It might seem too good to be true and unfortunately it was,” said Prosecutor Scott Coffina at Thursday afternoon’s press conference. “The whole campaign was based on a lie.”
According to Coffina, McClure wrote to a friend less than an hour after the launch of the GoFundMe campaign, saying the story was “completely composed.” McClure did not run out of gas on an I-95 ramp and Bobbitt did not offer his last $20 to help her.