Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure, the couple in question, as well as fake "homeless" man Johnny Bobbitt, are all being charged with conspiracy and theft by deception, among other charges, for misleading members of the public into contributing upwards of $400,000 to help Bobbitt get off the streets.
D'Amico and McClure both turned themselves in to local authorities after prosecutors said that they intentionally prevented people who donated to their GoFundMe page from accessing relevant information that "would affect their judgment about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort."
According to reports, the couple claimed last year that Bobbitt gave his last $20 to McClure to help her buy fuel after she allegedly ran out on Interstate 95 near Philadelphia. They then started a GoFundMe page to supposedly raise money for Bobbitt, which quickly garnered plenty of attention from the public.
But the nearly half-a-million dollars that was raised through the page quickly disappeared, and questionable purchases were made, including a BMW vehicle that was recently seized from D'Amico and McClure's home.
"McClure and D'Amico gave him (Bobbitt) around $75,000 as well as the vehicle and the camper, but [we] have since learned that the rest of the money is gone," stated Bobbitt's lawyer.
In rebuttal, McClure and D'Amico's lawyer stated that the couple "spent around $200,000 on behalf of Bobbitt, buying him a used vehicle and a trailer and giving him thousands in cash, which the couple says he quickly spent on drugs and gave away to family members."
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So it's basically been an ongoing, back-and-forth fight within this group of fraudsters, even as the public has been made fully aware of the nature of this highly-deceptive scheme, which was meant to play at the heartstrings of compassionate people who probably never imagined that their donations would be going to thieves.
As you're probably well-aware, the homeless "schtick" is nothing new – and neither is the use and abuse of actual homeless people as pawns by crooks. As you may recall, criminal gangs in Japan actually recruited homeless people to work in dangerous radiation zones, preying on them as cheap and easy labor.
In this case, a man apparently pretended to be homeless, and so did his friends, to raise loads of easy cash for themselves so they could live the high life. And now it's coming back to bite them in a major way.
"We saw the pattern that was developing," D'Amico tried to argue in his own defense, claiming that Bobbitt is a drug addict who misused the funds that he and his partner raised through GoFundMe.
Meanwhile, GoFundMe is attempting to do the right thing by apportioning out an appropriate amount of the money that remains to Bobbitt in order to ensure that he receives "an amount equal to the balance of the funds he did not get from the online fund-raiser set up for him in November."
As for what will become of Bobbitt as this case unfolds, local news reports stated that they could not confirm "whether or not Bobbitt turned himself in as well."
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