Kate McClure, right, and her boyfriend Mark D & # 39; Amico, downtown, took homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, left, on a trip to New York in April, months after spending his last $ 20 to Buy gasoline for McClure for 28 years. telling them to set up a GoFundMe account for him
A BMW. A limousine driver. A helicopter trip. Luxury vacations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. A trip to Disney. The list goes on and on, reading as the exploits of a jet-set couple who have enjoyed all those advantages in less than a year.
It does not sound exactly like the lifestyle of a receptionist and carpenter who lives in a small house in rural New Jersey, a house on a long driveway surrounded by overgrown grass and weeds with equipment for the lawn outside. And it begins to raise the eyebrows when the time line is taken into account; Kate McClure and Mark D & # 39; Amico embarked on their luxury year after starting a fundraising campaign for a homeless man last October that brought in $ 400,000.
The homeless man, veteran Johnny Bobbitt, says he has barely seen the money; his lawyer says that everything is gone. And the couple has not been particularly communicative about where everything was spent.
What is not in dispute, however, is that McClure and Dico have had a dizzying year after McClure's chance encounter with Bobbitt last fall. He had run out of gas in Philadelphia, and Bobbitt, who was begging, spent his last $ 20 on gas for the 28-year-old.
She started a GoFundMe campaign for him later, outlining his selfless work and establishing the monetary goal he hoped to achieve by $ 10,000. Its publication soon went viral, however, obtaining donations from more than 14,000 people totaling $ 400,000. The money was supposed to be spent on a house and a truck for Bobbitt, as well as a trust and retirement fund.
GRAND CANYON: After the setup of the GoFundMe account for Bobbitt, McClure and D & # 39; Amico made a luxurious trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon in January 2018.
Instead, they bought him a van and a used SUV, and D & # 39; Amico, 39, gave him $ 25,000 in cash, which according to the couple, Bobbitt spent on narcotics. The truck and the SUV have already been sold, and the 34-year veteran is back on the streets and back on drugs.
He and the couple are locked in a bitter dispute, with Bobbitt claiming in a lawsuit that the couple used the GoFundMe account as a "personal piggy bank". to finance a lifestyle that they would not otherwise be able to afford. & # 39;
The couple said they spent $ 200,000 on Bobbitt and said in interviews that they gave him $ 25,000, which he spent in less than two weeks on drugs.
The couple is now being investigated by New Jersey police who executed a search warrant at their home in Florence, and left with bags of evidence and towing their BMW in a platform truck. Earlier in the week, a judge had ordered the couple to give him control of the account, and pro bono Bobbitt legal representation said that all the money that had been collected had disappeared.
A forensic accountant is reviewing his finances, but a retrospective look at his year indicates that they have not wanted money since McClure started the GoFundMe campaign. In January, she and D & # 39; Amico enjoyed a luxurious vacation in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, including a tour of the attractions by helicopter, a trip that McClure said was a gift from her boyfriend.
McClure, who is a receptionist at the New Jersey State Department of Transportation, also traveled with her mother to Los Angeles, where they were picked up at the airport by a limousine driver with a personalized sign. She also made a trip to Disney World in Florida, and all this was documented in the couple's social media accounts. They also bought a black BMW.
And then there was the game. D'Amico admitted that he spent $ 500 on the fundraising campaign at SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, although he insists he paid everything with his winnings.
The couple states that they spent $ 200,000 on Bobbitt's "care", including a hotel stay, a caravan, the used SUV, two cell phones, a television, a laptop, attorney fees and money sent to their parents and He gave his brother. They say they spent tens of thousands more on GoFundMe rates and gave Bobbitt $ 25,000 in cash, while holding the last $ 150,000.
D & # 39; Amico said that the couple believed that Bobbitt should not get the money until it was clean and would spend it responsibly. He told The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month: "Giving him all that money, it's never going to happen, I'm going to burn him in front of him.
The couple also argued that the BMW was paid with their salaries and that their trip to California was at the expense of Ellen Degeneres' show, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Despite the initial goodwill and friendship forged between the couple and Bobbitt, the relationship soured when they began to dispute the use of GoFundMe money.
McClure, who works as a receptionist, traveled to Disney, among other trips; Bobbitt states in a lawsuit that she and D & # 39; Amico, who is a carpenter, used the GoFundMe account as a & # 39; personal piggy bank & # 39; to finance a lifestyle that they would not otherwise be able to afford & # 39;
McClure also traveled to Los Angeles, where she was picked up by a limousine; D & # 39; Amico said in an interview that a trip to California was funded by the television program Ellen Degeneres, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, and not for the GoFundMe money.
The couple took Bobbitt to New York in April, before tensions became strained over spending money from the GoFundMe account.
However, after Bobbitt shared his story earlier this month, GoFundMe initiated an investigation into the couple's management of the fund. The site promised to pay the total balance of the original $ 400,000.
"Johnny will recover and we promise that he will get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or that he has not benefited from," GoFundMe said in a statement.
& # 39; The objective of GoFundMe has always been to ensure that Johnny gets [the] support you deserve
"We will continue to assist with the ongoing police investigation."
GoFundMe made the announcement in a joint statement with a Philadelphia law firm that represents Bobbitt, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The company is also taking steps to allow donors who contributed to the campaign to recover their money.
The company policy states that donors have up to 30 days to make their contribution to submit claims that request a refund.
But since the campaign was launched 10 months ago, GoFundMe is giving up this aspect of its policy to allow donors to send claims to Bobbitt.
"This is an extremely rare situation, and we are working with the authorities so that Johnny gets the money raised on his behalf, which means that the 30-day policy does not apply in this case," a company spokesman told the Inquirer. .
In his latest upload to the site, McClure had written: "Fortunately this will answer them while maintaining their privacy and the privacy of the people they also help.
"The first thing on the list is a NEW home that Johnny will own! Never again will he have to worry about a roof over his head! The second one will be the dream truck he has always wanted … a 1999 Ford Ranger (yes , I'm serious).
There will also be 2 trusts established in your name, one that will give you the ability to charge a small & # 39; salary each year and another retirement trust that will be wisely invested by a financial planner you will have access to at a time that you are comfortable with, when the time comes you can live out your retirement dream of owning a piece of land and a cabin in the countryside.
& # 39; You will be assigned a bank account with funds to cover the daily needs that will help you until you find a job. And, finally, he will donate to some organizations and people who in recent years have helped him overcome this difficult moment in his life.
The couple appeared last week on Megyn Kelly's talk show, insisting that they had not spent a penny of Bobbitt's money on themselves and saying they had not turned in the total amount because they believed they would spend it on drugs, and wanted to make sure that he had funds left when he finally changed his life
On Thursday, New Jersey police executed an arrest warrant at the couple's small home, leaving with bags of evidence and towing a black BMW that the couple bought this year.
The account was intended to raise $ 10,000 for Bobbitt, a 34-year-old ex-marine, but more than 14,000 people donated $ 400,000; he says he has barely seen the money
Bobbitt has said he feels betrayed by McClure and D & # 39; Amico: "I think at first they might have been good intentions, but with that amount of money, I think it became greed."
"This is a well-thought-out plan that Johnny, his lawyer and financial adviser, proposed to give Johnny the means to acclimatize to a" normal "life and also to protect him and ensure he has a bright future."
Bobbitt said he was never given a lawyer and met once with a financial advisor, without signing any documentation.
Following the raid on the couple's house this week, Burlington County District Attorney Scott A Coffina said in a statement: "Due to the huge public interest in this matter, I confirm that the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office executed an order of I checked in early this morning and the Florence Township Police Department at the residence of Mark D & # 39; Amico and Katelyn McClure in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt affair.
"As of this moment, no charges have been filed, new updates will be provided as circumstances warrant."
It came less than a week after the couple left on national television to claim that there were still "more than $ 150,000" of the money raised. During an interview with Megyn Kelly last week, the couple said they spent $ 200,000 on it in total and GoFundMe took $ 50,000.
They insisted that they had not done anything wrong and that they had not spent a single dollar on themselves.
When asked for an exact figure of how much they were left, they said they could not give one because the money was still held in the account they used themselves.
McClure was thrilled when he described receiving death threats from people who claimed to have spent money on travel and purchases.
She said: "It's so hard to deal with that, because people are getting a side of the story and receiving death threats and threats to burn my house and threats against my family and all that is so hard to deal with when We know we did something good, "he said.
"I still think we did something good, and I would do it again, I would do it for him again."
Bobbitt himself said he felt betrayed by McClure and D & # 39; Amico, and believes that his greed seized them once the money started to arrive.
"I think at first they could have been good intentions, but with that amount of money, I think it became greed," he said.