Homeless Veteran Back on Street After Fundraisers Keep Money

FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2017, photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. When McClure ran out of gas, Bobbitt, who is homeless, gave his last $20 to buy gas for her. McClure started a Gofundme.com campaign …
Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File

Johnny Bobbitt is back under a bridge just months after a couple raised $400,000 for him — and then reportedly kept it.

It seemed like an American Cinderella story: when New Jersey resident Kate McClure ran out of gas in a “sketchy” neighborhood in Philadelphia, 35-year-old homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt offered her his last $20 dollars for gas, which he went and fetched for her himself.

McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico responded with a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 so that Bobbitt could get safely through the winter. The story captured the hearts and minds of many readers, and the campaign raised more than $400,000 in Bobbitt’s name. This, however, is where the story gets ugly.

The last update to the GoFundMe page described a plan in concert with Bobbitt’s “lawyer” and “financial adviser” to acquire a home and vehicle for him. However, Bobbitt said he never spoke to a lawyer and only met a financial adviser once. The couple claims to have already spent half the money on him in that time — but their story does not seem to check out.

Rather than putting the money into trusts, as was explicitly stated, the remaining $200,000 is held in one of D’Amico’s savings accounts. While Bobbitt lives under a bridge, McClure has purchased a new BMW and taken vacations to California, Florida, and Las Vegas — all, she claims, on the salary of a receptionist for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

D’Amico has admitted to spending some of the money raised for Bobbitt to gamble but insists he paid it right back to the account. McClure and D’Amico bought Bobbitt a vehicle but kept it in their names so he could not sell it; however, they have since sold the vehicle themselves.

In response, the couple has also accused Bobbitt of stealing from them to fund his drug habit and blowing through $25,000 that they handed him. Bobbitt denies the accusations.

D’Amico is unconcerned with the public reception to his and his girlfriend’s actions. “Write what you want,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Giving him all that money, it’s never going to happen. I’ll burn it in front of him,” he added.

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