A homeless veteran sued a New Jersey couple Tuesday after they raised thousands of dollars for him through a GoFundMe campaign.
Johnny Bobbitt, 35, originally from North Carolina, filed a suit against Mark D’Amico and Katie McClure, whom he claimed did not give him the full $400,000 they raised for him on GoFundMe, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. The couple started the campaign in October 2017 after Bobbitt used his last $20 to pay for Katie’s gas after her vehicle stalled, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The lawsuit claimed the couple committed fraud by taking large portions of the fundraising money for themselves. It claims the couple bought an expensive car and a trip to the Grand Canyon, which Bobbitt speculates they used the GoFundMe money to pay for.
The couple denied they stole money from the fundraiser for those personal expenses during an interview on “Megyn Kelly Today” Monday. D’Amico added that he once borrowed $500 from the account for gambling — with Bobbitt’s consent — and later paid it back. Originally, the funds went into the couple’s own account, which complicated matters, he said.
GoFundMe’s website details the process of how donated funds are handled between campaign organizer and beneficiary.
“You can set up withdrawals and add your bank account as soon as you accept the campaign organizer’s invitation to make you a beneficiary. Bank transfers then take 2-5 business days to arrive,” according to GoFundMe’s website.
“I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t thrilled about the money,” Bobbitt said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Who wouldn’t be?” (RELATED: Law Professor Jonathan Turley Criticizes GoFundMe For Allowing People To Purchase Legal Testimony)
“I think he is just a genuine, sincere person who has been the victim of so many bad circumstances,” said Jacqueline Promislo of Cozen O’Connor, one of the attorneys representing Bobbitt, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “We want to make sure he has the opportunity to benefit from the incredible generosity of people.”
The couple claimed he went through $250,000 in two weeks in order to fuel his drug habits.
The couple withheld over $100,000 of the money. They claim they will give him the rest of the money when it can be used more responsibly, but also said on “Megyn Kelly Today” that they would hire a forensic accountant to straighten the record and a trustee to handle the money in the future.
“Giving him all that money, it’s never going to happen. I’ll burn it in front of him,” said D’Amico, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He added that giving a drug addict money would be the same as “giving him a loaded gun.”