Last winter, we brought you a story that, at the time, we regarded as being one of the most heartwarming we had ever covered. It was a real-life tale about a woman named Kate McClure who was given $20 by homeless Marine veteran, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., after her car ran out of gas near a Philadelphia onramp. The story rose to viral fame after McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the down-and-out vet. Amazingly, over $400,000 was donated by a caring 14,000 strangers.

Sounds like the feel-good story of the century, right? Well, not anymore because, according to New Jersey prosecutors, the entire account was actually fabricated by the three individuals so that they could mislead and ultimately defraud thousands of GoFundMe users.

Yep, it doesn’t get much lower than that, folks!

In a report just published by NBC News, the news organization provided details of the year-long social media saga that has now devolved into a full-blown criminal scandal.

When the GoFundMe account originally closed out after raising more than $400,000, McClure wrote a thank-you note to all who donated, stating that Bobbitt would “never have to worry about a roof over his head again!!” It seemed like the perfect fairytale ending, but all fell apart when, in September, the homeless vet’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against McClure and D’Amico. Included in it was a host of criminal accusations, most notably that the couple had only given Bobbitt $75,000 of the money and that they had actually blown the cash on luxury goods, like designer clothing, a new BMW, and a fancy vacation. 

Eventually, GoFundMe publicly asserted that Bobbitt would be receiving the remainder of the cash from their site while McClure and D’Amico’s criminal allegations would be handled by the authorities.

It was a disappointing development, but at least the scandal had righted itself….or so we thought.

As mentioned, now prosecutors are building a case against McClure, D’Amico, and Bobbitt, alleging that all three were in the scam together. McClure and D’Amico have already turned themselves in to authorities and, at the moment, are facing a slew of charges including conspiracy and theft by deception. At the moment, it’s unclear as to how Bobbitt will proceed. 

Talk about a wild ride. Although we’re still hoping that this was all some convoluted misunderstanding, we do have to admit that things seem awfully fishy. We just hope that cases like these won’t take the spotlight away from folks who actually NEED support!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this GoFundMe scam saga. Are you surprised that the story is unfolding this way? Do you think all three were in on it? Are you aware of any similar scams?