A day before a homeless man sued a New Jersey couple, accusing them of stealing $400,000 that they had raised for him on GoFundMe, the man was encouraged to dump his lawyer and take a check for "what's left" of the money rather than have it put in a secure trust and "end up with nothing".
The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office confirmed Thursday that officials with the prosecutor's office and the Florence Township Police Department conducted the search warrant "in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt matter".
The couple is scheduled to show up to court next week for a lawsuit filed by the homeless man, but police said Thursday's raid was connected to a criminal investigation.
The initially touching tale drew national attention last fall when Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 after she ran out of gas on a freeway ramp outside of Philadelphia. The couple, who set up a GoFundMe page for Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless good Samaritan, are accused in a lawsuit brought by Bobbitt of mismanaging donations.
Chris Fallon, an attorney representing Bobbitt, told NBC Philadelphia this week that he was "shocked" and "appalled" to learn during a call with the couple's attorneys that the more-than $402,000 they raised was completely gone.
In this November 17, 2017, file photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico are pictured in Philadelphia. "GoFundMe's goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves", said the statement. The couple has denied wrongdoing and said they were afraid that Bobbitt would spend the money on drugs.
GoFundMe, the site where the money was raised, said it had given $20,000 to Bobbitt to give assistance during the investigation. The couple has never provided reporters with financial documentation proving their claims.
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The couple's heartwarming tale about their interaction with Bobbitt, who gave McClure and D'Amico his only money when they were stranded on a road in 2017, inspired over 14,000 people to make donations.
"As of this time, there have been no charges filed", the prosecutor added. Pictured: Mr Bobbitt and Ms McClure.
"Mr. Bobbitt is a key material witness to where the money went to because, as I have explained to the court, the money went to Mr. Bobbitt", Badway said. Bobbitt, whose attorney says he is entering a drug addiction program, will also be deposed on Monday. It raised $545,000 for him but he's yet to see all the money. Bobbitt, who was in and out of rehab and is now back on the street, alleges he has only received about $75,000 and fears the rest of the money is gone, according to his lawyers.
The announcement came several hours after authorities had executed a search warrant at the New Jersey, home of Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure. Yet, according to Bobbitt, the couple kept the majority of donations to themselves. On September 6, they strengthened that position, noting that whatever the outcome of the court case they immediately plan to award Bobbitt the full amount of what he still hasn't received (the actual amount remains unclear).
Both sides have given differing accounts about how much money got to Bobbitt.
The authorities executed the search warrant a day after a court hearing in New Jersey in which a judge expressed frustration that the couple's lawyer did not show an accounting of the money raised and if it had been spent.