Here’s something to make you lose a bit of faith in humanity. Remember back in the day when you might offer some goods from your garden to a struggling family? Or when you “accidentally” bought your kids the wrong clothes size and the newly-widowed mother down the street suddenly got a new wardrobe for her children? Well, those days have been replaced by GoFundMe (GFM) campaigns.
These campaigns have been created for everything from helping out with medical bills to lending a hand to someone who is trying to achieve their dreams. And, as we might expect, many have been scams. But nothing quite takes the cake like the New Jersey couple who won the internet over when they created a GFM campaign to help a homeless man. Why this particular homeless man? Because, as the story goes, he used his last $20 to fill the gas tank of a woman stranded on I-95.
Sure, it made for a good story, but that’s all it was. And, as is turns out, the moral of the story may be that there really is no honor among thieves.
• Kate McClure, 28, and her boyfriend, 39 year old Mark D’Amico, originally created the GFM in November of 2017, claiming to want to raise around $10k.
• The alleged goal of the GFM was to help 35 year old homeless man, John Bobbit, get back on his feet.
• Though the goal was only $10k, the campaign went viral and ended up raising about $400k. GFM would have gotten about $30k of the total raised.
• In the summer of 2018, John Bobbit accused the couple of withholding the funds from him.
• The couple denied that they had withheld funds and appeared outraged at the way Bobbit had spent the money they did give him.
• Eventually, GFM stepped in as well as the local prosecutor’s office. GFM assured everyone that Bobbit would get the funds that were raised for him.
• McClure and D’Amico watched in horror as their new BMW and various other expensive purchases were confiscated, purchases that were made after they received the funds from the GFM campaign.
• On November 15, 2018, Burlington County Prosecutor, Scott Coffina, announced that all three individuals were facing new charges after investigators learned about a text from McClure to a friend within an hour of the campaign going live.
• The text said that the entire thing was “completely made up.”
• Bobbit, McClure and D’Amico are all currently facing charges of Theft by Deception as well as Conspiring to Commit Theft by Deception.
• GoFundMe has stated that all donations will be refunded.
If no other lesson is learned from this incident, we should all let it serve as a reminder that those who have nothing left to lose will fight with all they do have when backed into a corner. Had the couple simply given Bobbit his share, none of this would have come to light. As for Bobbit, the original goal, scam or not, has been met. Bobbit may end up incarcerated for a period of time instead of being homeless. Of course, it doesn’t look like he’ll be the only one making an address change.