GoFundMe says donations in alleged homeless scam fundraiser returned

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By Phil Helsel

The popular site GoFundMe said Monday that it has given refunds to people who donated money to a charity fund for a homeless man that prosecutors say was a scam.

“All donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded,” spokesman Bobby Whithorne said in an email.

People donated more than $400,000 to a campaign that hinged on a story of a homeless man who purportedly gave his last $20 to help a stranded motorist on a Pennsylvania freeway ramp in November 2017.

Prosecutors say that never happened, and the “the entire campaign was predicated on a lie.”

Nov. 16, 201802:56

The homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 35, the supposed motorist Kate McClure, 28, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 39, were charged with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception in November of this year.

“Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live, McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was ‘completely made up.'” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement in announcing the charges for all three. “She did not run out of gas on an I-95 off-ramp, and he did not spend his last $20 to help her.

“Rather, D’Amico, McClure and Bobbitt conspired to fabricate and promote a feel-good story that would compel donors to contribute to their cause,” Coffina continued.

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