So it starts here with the picture above…
Around the October of 2017, New Jersey resident Kate McClure ran out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia and a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., gave her his last $20 while she was stranded. In return, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Bobbitt, saying they wanted to pay it forward to the good Samaritan and get him off the streets.
By the Thanksgiving week, this sympathy story goes viral and people start donating money to their “Paying it forward” GoFundMe account. McClure/Bobbitt/D’Amico trio posts more pics online and gets national attention.
They go on interviews, featured on national news and shows including “Good Morning America” and “The Ellen Show,”, and globally recognized for their heartfelt story .
They eventually racked up $402,826.00 from over 14,000 donations in 9 months on their GoFundMe page… all because a homeless veteran gave his last $20 to a young lady who was stranded on a side of a road.
This was a great story and a lot of people praised the kind, homeless veteran as well as the grateful couple that wanted to give back in return.
But in 2018, it all started to fall apart when Bobbitt (the homeless veteran (14 month Marine with a Dishonorable Discharge)) accused the couple (McClure & D’Amico) of giving him only $75,000 and keeping the rest of the money collected from the GoFundMe page.
And the public was like…
McClure & D’Amico said they are not giving Bobbitt any more money because he’ll use it on drugs.
Well, Bobbitt took it to a legal level and this accusation by Bobbitt opened a whole new can of worms.
An investigation was opened and come to find out, McClure (a receptionist) & D’Amico were going on lavish trips and bought expensive things including a brand new BMW.
The public was like…
September 6th 2018, the police raided their (McClure & D’Amico’s) rent house and started to confiscate their stuff including the BMW.
By now, the public was like…
Then the truth came out when the McClure & Bobbitt admitted that they made up the whole sob story, plead guilty,
and the public was like…
In the end…
March 7th 2019, Johnny Bobbitt, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden, N.J., to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, while Katelyn McClure, 28, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
May 8th 2019, Mark D’Amico, 39, was indicted Tuesday on six separate criminal charges, including theft by deception, conspiracy, and computer and financial crimes, in connection with the online fundraiser, which was built around a phony tale of Philadelphia homeless man Johnny Bobbitt coming to the rescue of D’Amico’s former girlfriend, Kate McClure, after she ran out of gas off I-95 in Philadelphia. Mark D’Amico maintained his innocence (maybe he was asleep during all of the shopping and vacation sprees…).
GoFundMe said that they will refund all of the donators that were suckered in this “Pay it Forward” scam.
12/25/18: GoFundMe confirms it has refunded everyone who donated to the campaign.
April 12th 2019 – Johnny Bobbitt Jr. is handed a 5 year probation in turn, to cooperate with the prosecution of his alleged accomplices, Burlington County residents Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure. McClure is scheduled for June 19; she faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
After everything, the public is now…
“Pay it Forward” Scam Timeline…
Here is a timeline of key events in the case as alleged by the Burlington County prosecutor’s office:
Text messages between McClure & D’Amico
(Discuss the “homeless guy” they see by the Sugarhouse Casino)
“Gas story” purportedly transpired
GoFundMe campaign “Pay It Forward” is created
Text messages between McClure and her best friend
(“Gas part is completely made up” and “I had to make something up to make people feel bad.”)
Text messages between McClure and D’Amico (Gas story is a “little lie”)
D’Amico and McClure post a video to YouTube of themselves showing Bobbitt the success of the GoFundMe account
Money disbursed from GoFundMe account:
GoFundMe Payouts to pre-paid debit cards
11/22/17 – $12,765.45
GoFundMe Payouts to McClure’s bank account
RV purchased for $18,350 and Bobbitt moves onto Florence Twp., N.J. property where D’Amico and McClure reside.
“Paying it Forward” campaign on GoFundMe comes down
$25,000 deposited into Bobbitt’s bank account
12/29/17 to 01/08/18
Trip to Las Vegas, NV
(McClure / D’Amico)
1/26/18 to 1/30/18
Trip to Ellen Show / Disneyland in Los Angeles, CA
(McClure / Relative)
BMW purchased for $24,432.19
(With GoFundMe Campaign funds)
Text messages between McClure & her best friend
(McClure worries about Bobbitt “outing” her)
McClure’s bank account is in the negative
Bank closes McClure’s account
6/11/18 and 6/13/18
RV sold for $10,000
(McClure negotiates the check for cash)
Text messages between McClure and D’Amico
(Discuss getting Bobbitt out of the area)
7/19/18 to 7/27/18
Trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL
(McClure and her best friend)
Text messages between Bobbitt to D’Amico and McClure
(“I have not said anything that would jeopardize us”)
8/15/18 to 8/23/18
Text messages between McClure / D’Amico / Bobbitt and McClure’s best friend
(Described as “panic texts.” They discuss a need to find and relocate Bobbitt)
Bobbitt files civil complaint in Burling County Superior Court)
Text messages between McClure and a relative
(He (Bobbitt) agreed to split it with them, but nothing is left)
Action News Investigation reveals pictures of McClure and D’Amico on trips, shopping excursions, Broadway tickets and Las Vegas gambling
Interview with 6abc Action News
(Bobbitt discusses his drug addiction and D’Amico’s alleged gambling addiction)
Audio recording of McClure & D’Amico
(D’Amico: “You don’t go to jail for lying on TV…”)
9/4/18 and 9/5/18
Search warrant executed at D’Amico and McClure’s home in Florence Twp.
Charges against McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt are announced