Homeless veteran and New Jersey couple arrested in GoFundMe scam

Helpful Homeless Man_1542317074198

FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure’s boyfriend Mark D’Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt, a homeless man who used his last $20 to fill McClure’s gas tank when she was stranded, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s still struggling with […]

NEW JERSEY (CBS) – A New Jersey couple and homeless veteran who captured international attention and praise for their heartwarming “good Samaritan” tale have been arrested for fraud, an unexpected twist in a yearlong story of good deeds gone wrong. The Burlington County prosecutor’s office announced the charges Thursday.

The woman, Katelyn McClure, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, started a GoFundMe campaign for Johnny Bobbitt last year after sharing a story of how he supposedly offered his last $20 to help McClure when her car ran out of gas.

The “Paying it Forward” fundraiser was immensely popular, collecting over $400,000 from over 14,000 donors around the world. But the feel-good story quickly started to unravel into a dispute over money. And now prosecutors say it was all a scam from the beginning.

“It might seem to good to be true and unfortunately it was,” prosecutor Scott Coffina said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “The entire campaign was predicated on a lie.”

According to Coffina, McClure texted a friend less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign launched, saying the story was “completely made up.” McClure did not run out of gas on an I-95 ramp and Bobbitt did not offer his last $20 to help her.  In the text exchange, McClure told her friends to “shh about the made up stuff,” Coffina said.

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