The case involving a New Jersey couple who stand accused of mismanaging funds that were raised for a homeless Marine Corps veteran has taken a possible criminal turn. The home of Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico was raided by police. Authorities have confirmed that an investigation is underway; however, charges have yet to be filed.
The dispute began after McClure and D’Amico started a GoFundMe campaign for homeless Marine veteran Johnny Bobbitt to thank him for giving his last $20 to a stranded McClure last year. The campaign raised $400,000, which was intended to assist Bobbitt, who also struggles with drug use. According to reports, the couple refused to allow Bobbitt full access to the funds for various reasons. Citing everything from disputes over Bobbitt’s behavior to concern for lifestyle choices, the couple withheld money from the campaign.
A search warrant was issued for the residence of McClure and D’Amico after they failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to transfer the remaining funds to a trust pending further legal action. Police raided the couple’s residence and were seen removing several bags of items and a BMW, which Bobbitt suspected was purchased with the GoFundMe donations. Neither McClure or D’Amico would comment when approached by the media.
The couple initially said there was over $150,000 remaining of the $400,000. Out of the entire $400,000, only about $75,000 went to the homeless veteran. Bobbitt wasn’t even allowed to keep a trailer that was purchased for him to live in because it wasn’t in his name. It was later revealed that nothing remained of the GoFundMe donations. According to Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico squandered the money on gambling, vacations, and a new vehicle. D’Amico admitted that he had used $500 of the funds at a casino, claiming Bobbitt consented and the funds had been paid back.
Regardless of how this particular case plays out, it highlights the vulnerability of homeless veterans. Johnny Bobbitt —like many veterans in the United States— suffers from drug addiction and has fallen on hard times. Despite the poor hand he was dealt, he saw it in his heart to help a stranded motorist who had run out of gas. What should have been an act of goodwill showed the dark side of humanity. Rather than genuinely reaching out to outside resources over any concerns, McClure and D’Amico treated Bobbitt horribly and drained the money meant to assist him.
Upon discovering that all $400,000 had been drained, GoFundMe released a statement, assuring the public that Johnny Bobbitt would receive the missing funds. It was also reported that he was offered free drug rehabilitation treatment. While Johnny Bobbitt may have received payback for what was stolen from him, many veterans and military members are exploited for profit. Online scammers use everything from GoFundMe campaigns to posing as service members. Since most in the United States are sympathetic to the Armed Forces, it’s easy to garner support for causes. It’s unclear what McClure and D’Amico’s true intentions were in the beginning, but once the money came pouring in it brought out the worst.