Exclusive: Homeless man speaks after judge orders N.J. couple to return GoFundMe donations

Chad Pradelli Image
Friday, August 31, 2018
Judge orders NJ couple return money from GoFundMe account to homeless man
Bobbitt claims he only received a small portion of the money raised. Chad Pradelli reports during Action News at 11 on August 30, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- What started as an act of kindness ended up the subject of a court hearing Thursday.

Homeless man John Bobbitt gave up his last $20 to help Kate McClure, who had run out of gas off of I-95. McClure was so moved she and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico started a GoFundMe account for Bobbitt, a man who was also struggling with addiction.

The fundraiser garnered approximately $400,000, which amounted to roughly $360,000 after GoFundMe's fees. Bobbitt claims he only received $75,000 in cash, goods and services. The defense attorney said Bobbitt actually received $200,000 dollars from the money donated.

Bobbitt has now taken action in the courts.

In an exclusive interview, John Bobbitt says Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico had complete control over his money and they used thousands of it to go on lavish trips, shopping sprees and gambling.

Exclusive: Homeless man speaks after Judge orders N.J. couple to return GoFundMe donations. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 4:30 a.m. on august 31, 2018.

"I wish it didn't come to this," said Bobbitt. "I hate that it came to this."

Bobbitt is back on the streets. He has no money and is fighting to reclaim what's left of more than $400,000 raised on GoFundMe last year.

RELATED: Homeless man suing couple over $400,000 GoFundMe campaign

"I always felt like I was in a weird situation. I didn't want to be pressuring to get a lawyer or do anything because I didn't want to seem ungrateful," he said.

More than 14,000 people donated to help Bobbitt. McClure and D'Amico set up the GoFund Me with claims they would buy Bobbitt a house and set up two trusts. It never happened.

On Thursday, a judge ordered the money raised on GoFundMe for Bobbitt be taken out of the personal accounts of D'Amico and McClure and be placed in the hands of Bobbitt's attorneys. She also ordered a full accounting of the money.

Homeless vet who helped NJ woman says money being withheld. Watch the report from Action News at 4:30 p.m. on August 24, 2018.

"We don't know where it went, but we will find out," said attorney Chris Fallon. "And we will know how much money remains after the money is transferred from the defendants to our escrow account."

Bobbitt estimates he received about $75,000 dollars, including a camper and a pickup truck the couple bought in their names, not his, and which were eventually sold.

"I had to ask them for everything in the beginning. It was like a joke, they were like my parents, but the joke starts not being funny," he said.

RELATED: Homeless vet who helped NJ woman says money being withheld

In a nationally televised interview this week, the couple says they worried Bobbitt would spend the money on drugs and their attorney disputed the $75,000 figure in court Thursday.

"Mr. Bobbitt received cash and goods and services of over $200,000," said defense attorney Ernest Badway.

Action News began following McClure and D'Amico's spending habits online beginning late last year, after receiving an anonymous tip that the couple was spending some of the GoFundMe money at casinos and on lavish trips.

More than $200,000 raised to help Philly homeless man who used last $20 to help N.J. woman: Chad Pradelli reports on Action News at 4:30 p.m., November 23, 2017

In just a few months, McClure posted pictures and videos of a New Year's Eve Bash in Las Vegas at Skyfall along with helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon, trips to New York City with front row tickets to the Broadway show 'The Book of Mormon,' and shopping excursions. McClure was also photographed carrying an expensive Louis Vuitton handbag.

McClure is an administrative assistant with the state of New Jersey. D'Amico is a carpenter. The couple has denied spending any of the GoFundMe money on themselves.

"They have said they will have a forensic accounting, they've said they're fine with a trustee, they've said they are they'll open their books. What more can they do?" said Badway. "I urge everybody to withhold judgement until that's been made public."

It is likely this will not be resolved until a forensic accounting is completed.

The judge ordered that all of the remaining money be moved from the couple's personal accounts to an escrow account within 24 hours and that a complete accounting of the money be done by September 10. Later that same week the judge will hold another hearing on the matter.

Attempts to reach the couple for comment have been unsuccessful and their attorney had no comment Thursday.

Paying it forward after a stranger helps. Watch the report from Action News at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2017.
Hero homeless man John Bobbitt says he only received small portion of GoFundMe money: Chad Pradelli reports on Action News at 6 p.m., August 30, 2018


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