Donors who contributed money to help a homeless man in need say they are “saddened” by reports that the New Jersey couple who launched the GoFundMe campaign may have spent the funds on luxurious vacations and even a BMW.
Johnny Bobbitt, 35, was living on the streets of Philadelphia when he famously spent his last $ 20 to buy gas for 28-year-old Kate McClure after her car broke down on Interstate 95 last October. To repay him, McClure and her 39-year-old boyfriend Mark D’Amico launched a GoFundMe campaign, with more than 14,000 people donating a total of $ 402,706 to the man.
Now, less than a year later, Bobbitt is back on the streets and McClure and D’Amico are under criminal investigation. Through his lawyer, Bobbit has accused them of engaging in fraud and conspiracy by withholding money from him and spending the funds on a lavish lifestyle.
“It looks like they scammed him. That is despicable,” donor Janine McClenny, of Houston, tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t donate money to the couple. I donated to Johnny.”
McClure and D’Amico have denied the fraud allegations contained in Bobbitt’s lawsuit, and they have not been criminally charged.
On Thursday, the Florence Police Department executed a search warrant at McClure and D’Amico’s apartment and seized the couple’s BMW, a spokesperson for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office told PEOPLE. The search came just days after the couple’s attorney said in court that the money they had been court-ordered to hand over to Bobbitt’s legal team is all gone.
“That kind of money can bring out the worst in people,” donor Sheilah Scofield tells PEOPLE of McClure and D’Amico. “It was just too much money for them to handle,” she speculated. “I thought was right to . They were withholding money that was raised for him.”
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Burlington County Judge Paula Dow ordered the search warrant that prompted the prosecutor’s office to tow away the pair’s BMW, the spokesperson with the prosecutor’s office told PEOPLE. The spokesperson said that should criminal charges be filed, the couple could potentially face arrest.
Earlier this week, the couple’s attorney, Ernest Badway, said in court that all of the remaining funds are gone and Dow has ordered D’Amico and McClure to appear before her on Monday to explain where the money went. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14.
McClure and D’Amico have said they began to keep the remaining funds from Bobbitt after he allegedly spent $ 25,000 in less than two weeks, some of it on drugs. They spoke about the incident last week on Megyn Kelly Today, claiming that they went above and beyond to track down the man’s birth certificate and get him identification.
They said they used the money raised to buy Bobbitt a camper that he asked for, an SUV, clothes, food and to admit Bobbitt to rehab for drug addiction.
Scofield says she is “saddened” by the recent developments, and McClenny tells PEOPLE that she thinks the couple should never have withheld the money.
“I don’t think the couple should have the right to decide to keep the money from Johnny,” she says. “He is an adult. They are not in a position to make decisions about how he spends money raised for him.”
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Attorneys for neither Bobbitt nor the couple immediately responded to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
“He was our family. He is our family. I still think, to this day, that he is our family,” McClure told Kelly. McClure spoke through tears as she claimed the couple’s been receiving death threats.
On Thursday, GoFundMe officials said that they would ensure Bobbitt received money through their GoFundMe Guarantee program.
“Johnny will be made whole and we’re committing that he’ll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from,” officials wrote on the organization’s Facebook page. “GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves.”
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