(BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J.) — New Jersey prosecutors plan to make a major announcement Thursday in a controversy that erupted over a couple that raised more than $400,000 for a homeless veteran who accused them of cheating him out of most of the money.
The Burlington County Prosecutors Office scheduled an afternoon press conference after a news report surfaced that investigators now suspect down-and-out Marine Corps vet Johnny Bobbitt and the couple he once praised as good Samaritans, Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, conspired together in an elaborate GoFundMe scam.
NBC10 in Philadelphia reported Tuesday night that Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico will all face charges for allegedly conspiring to concoct a bogus feel-good story that tricked 14,000 people into donating a pot of money to help Bobbitt.
A criminal complaint obtained by NBC10 alleges the trio deliberately prevented donors to their GoFundMe campaign from gaining information “that would affect their judgment about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort.”
McClure and D’Amico surrendered to authorities on Wednesday, a source told the news station.
It was unclear if Bobbitt turned himself in, too.
Reached Thursday morning, an attorney for McClure and D’Amico told ABC News, “We have no comment. Have a nice day.”
In numerous media appearances, McClure claimed she was driving to meet a friend in September 2017 when she ran out of gas around midnight on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia and Bobbitt, who was sleeping under a nearby overpass, came to her rescue. She claimed Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas.
“I pulled over to the side of the road as far as I could and I was going to get out and walk to the nearest gas station because it was not that far away, and that’s when I met Johnny,” McClure said last November in a Good Morning America interview. “He walked up and he said, ‘Get back in the car. Lock the doors. I’ll be back.’ I was just like, ‘OK.'”
She said Bobbitt used his panhandling money to get her out of the jam.
“I almost couldn’t believe it,” McClure added. “I said, ‘Thank you…I swear, I’ll be back. I promise I’ll be back to give you [the] money back.'”
Hoping to repay Bobbitt for the apparent generous act, McClure and D’Amico set up a GoFundMe online account that tugged at people’s hearts and wallets.
“I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn’t think anything about it. I wasn’t expecting anything in return,” Bobbitt, 34, told Good Morning America. “That’s how I got the money to start with — from other people. [I had to] return the favor. I can’t constantly take and not give back.”
Now it’s unclear if the entire story was false.
Burlington County prosecutors said they would not discuss the case until Thursday afternoon.
In August, Bobbitt, 35, filed a lawsuit accusing McClure and D’Amico of committing fraud by taking more than half of the money they raised for themselves. His attorney alleged in court papers that the couple treated the donations like their “personal piggy bank to fund a lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford.”
D’Amico and McClure denied the allegations.
In September, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal investigation into the missing GoFundMe donations and raided the couple’s home, seizing a BMW and other belongings.
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Source: ABC National News