A homeless Marine veteran made headlines in October 2017 when he used his last $20 to help a woman with an empty tank of gas, stuck on the side of a Philadelphia interstate off-ramp, to fill up.
His story went viral, but Johnny Bobbitt Jr. is said to be homeless again, and claims he hasn’t received the money allocated for him from Kate McClure and her boyfriend, despite being the subject of a $402,000 GoFundMe campaign they started for him.
A story that should have ended happily has now turned into a raging battle between lawyers and investigations of the possible mismanagement of funds.
According to CBS reporting, Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, allegedly have control over the funds. They are accused of using funds for vacations, a new BMW, and a helicopter ride viewing the Grand Canyon.
In October 2017, Bobbitt had brought McClure a canister of gas in a selfless act of kindness. McClure and D’Amico said they were inspired by Bobbitt’s act and decided to “pay it forward” by starting a GoFundMe account for him.
Chris Fallon, Bobbitt’s lawyer, told CNN, “From what I can see, the GoFundMe account raised $402,000 and GoFundMe charged a fee of approximately $30,000. Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure gave Johnny about $75,000. There should be close to another $300,000 available to Johnny.”
That $300,000 is not available to Bobbitt, though.
D’Amico admitted to the Inquirer that he used $500 from the account to gamble, but repaid the money “quickly." But they are accused of gambling away more of the money.
Bobbitt, an admitted drug addict, bought a camper (he reportedly was promised a house) and a used vehicle with the money. However, the vehicle has since broken down.
McClure told The Philadelphia Inquirer the couple is withholding the rest of Bobbitt’s money until he is drug free. The couple has not yet responded publicly to the allegations.
The crowdfunding website GoFundMe is also involved, investigating the management of the funds. If the mismanagement claims prove to be true, it would be the biggest case of GoFundMe fraud seen by whistleblower group GoFraudMe, according the Washington Post.
“When there is a dispute, we work with all parties involved to ensure funds go to the right place,” GoFundMe’s statement read. “We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors’ intentions are honored.”
In the meantime, though, Bobbitt is assumed to be back to where he began before meeting McClure.
Jacqueline Promislo, another legal representative for Bobbitt, told CNN that he is currently living on the streets of Philadelphia.
Neil is a former US Army Captain and served operational deployments in South Korea and Afghanistan. He is currently an Editorial Fellow at the Military Times.