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Couple raised $400,000 for homeless NC vet - then kept it. Hand it over, judge orders

Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure’s boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt was a homeless man who used his last $20 to fill McClure’s gas tank when she was stranded. He says in a lawsuit that the couple spent most of the money they raised for him on GoFundMe on themselves.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure’s boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt was a homeless man who used his last $20 to fill McClure’s gas tank when she was stranded. He says in a lawsuit that the couple spent most of the money they raised for him on GoFundMe on themselves.

A New Jersey judge has ruled a homeless vet from North Carolina should get the $400,000 a couple raised in his name with a GoFundMe campaign, and they must turn it over Friday afternoon, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kate McClure, 28, and Mark D’Amico, 35, were ordered to put what’s left of the money in an escrow account, in response to a lawsuit filed by homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., the newspaper reported. They must account for the cash they’ve spent so far, the newspaper said.

The couple raised the $400,000 with a GoFundMe campaign created last year after Bobbitt gave his last $20 to help McClure when her car broke down on Interstate 95 near Philadelphia, according to the GoFundMe page.

McClure said her goal was to raise $10,000 to get Bobbitt an apartment and money to cover expenses for up to six months. National news coverage of Bobbitt’s act of kindness boosted the campaign to $402,706 in nine months, with 14,347 people donating.

Bobbitt is a former paramedic, a veteran of the Marine Corps and a native of Henderson, N.C., according to a November profile in the News & Observer.

When the couple didn’t hand over the cash as Bobbitt expected, their relationship went “sour” and he took legal action accusing them of mismanaging the donations for their personal use, according to WTAE.

Bobbitt says he has received only $200,000 of the money and is again living on the street, reported WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. He says the couple spent thousands of dollars on “lavish trips, shopping sprees and gambling,” the station reported.

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“I had to ask them for everything in the beginning,” Bobbitt said, according to WPVI. “It was like a joke. They were like my parents, but the joke starts not being funny.”

The couple have denied the accusations and told the Today show on Aug. 27 that they feared giving cash to Bobbitt after he spent $25,000 in less than two weeks.

After that, they began trying to stretch the donations by buying Bobbitt what he needed, including a trailer to live in, rather than giving him cash, the show reported.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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