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In the Hot Seat

This Heartwarming Story Turned out to be too Good to be True

Couple who decided they wanted to do the right thing by raising money for a homeless man turned out to be false.

Britney Hoobraj

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In November 2017, Kate McClure was on her way to Philadelphia when she ran out of gas. On her way, she met a homeless man/veteran named, Johnny Bobbit, Jr. who lent her $20 to put gas into her car.

To give back, she started a GoFundMe page (which is now taken off), to get Bobbit Jr. back on his feet. Her goal was to raise $10,000 to get him an apartment, a car, and anything else he may need for the next four to six months.  After making the GoFundMe page public, she was only able to raise $769. McClure created a YouTube video where he is ecstatic of all the money raised on GoFundMe. According to The Washington Post,  McClure “raised more than $300,000 from 10,400 people,” after posting the video.

On the GoFundMe page, McClure posted updates. In one update she stated, “One day I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat. He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was, ‘Do you want one?’”

In another update she gave Bobbit two Wawa gift cards and a case of water so he and his friends could have.

According to the Inquirer, “D’Amico (Kate McClure’s husband) went through his old winter clothes and pulled out an Eagles hoodie, a black knit cap, and black insulated gloves. He and McClure went to a Target and bought a six-pack of tube socks, a bunch of granola bars, and basic toiletries. They put everything into a backpack and brought it to Johnny, along with a blanket and two $10 Wawa gift cards.

“He was very excited,” D’Amico said. “He shook my hand and he gave her a bear hug,” McClure said, “He said he’d go to Wawa right away and buy dinner. He loves the pepperoni hoagies.”

“And the pepperoni and cheese bagels,” D’Amico said.”

This inspiring story to help the homeless, eventually took a turn for the worst. The story was false.

A few weeks ago, both Kate McClure, her husband Mark D’Amico, even Johnny Bobbit, the homeless man were charged in New Jersey for three counts of theft. “The entire campaign was predicated on a lie,” said Scott A. Coffina, the prosecutor from New Jersey.

McClure went on to text a friend of hers saying, ““Ok so wait the gas part is completely made up, but the guy isn’t,” McClure texted a friend less than an hour after the GoFundMe page went live, Coffina said. “I had to make something up to make people feel bad. So shush about the made up stuff,” according to The Washington Post.

The couple are waiting to be extradited to Pennsylvania where they can be faced with five to ten years in jail.

About $402,000 was raised on GoFundMe; however, Bobbitt did not receive enough of the money. Towards the end of August, he filed a lawsuit against McClure and D’Amico accusing them being fraudulent and conspiracy. The two were investigated and their new BMW was hauled away. D’Amico stated that he was holding onto the money; however, Bobbitt did not try to get better. He chose to have a drug addiction and did not look for a job.

By the end of March, all of the money was gone. McClure and D’Amico spent it on a car, trips, high-end handbags, the casinos, and other things.

Last week, Bobbitt was also charged as being a accomplice to the crimes.

To those that donated, GoFundMe will be refunding their money to the respectable owners.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Britney Hoobraj is from the Big Apple. In her spare time she likes to attend concerts, explore the city, and attend protests to voices her opinion. She attends Mercy College.

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