In GoFundMe scam, the best in people brings out the worst in people

The story of Mark D’Amico, Kate McClure, and Johnny Bobbitt Jr., is almost enough to make people stop giving any money to fundraisers via GoFundMe. Now, the story is getting even weirder.

You may recall McClure’s story is her car broke down on a Philadelphia highway when it ran out of gas. Bobbitt, a homeless man who was once in the Marines, gave her the only money he had. Her GoFundMe campaign on his behalf raised a fortune, which he said the couple kept mostly for themselves.

Now, prosecutors have added a new twist: they were all in on the scam, NBC News says.

Fourteen-thousand people got suckered into giving more than $400,000 in all.

In September, authorities raided the home of D’Amico and McClure after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bobbitt had received only $75,000 of the money while the couple was spending it on vacations and travel.

After Bobbitt sued, the couple’s attorney acknowledged during a court hearing earlier this fall that the money was all gone.

GoFundMe has given Bobbitt $20,000, promising to give him the rest of the money he’s owed.

The county prosecutor will hold a news conference today, the newspaper reports, but makes no mention of Bobbitt’s alleged involvement in the scheme.

A local TV station, however, says all three will face charges including conspiracy and theft by deception.

  • MrE85

    I just hope that none of Boyd Huppert’s story subjects turn out to be scam artists.

  • wjc

    This is surprising… in no way whatsoever.

    • Ralphy

      Agreed. I’m sure this is neither the first nor the last scam GFM

  • Mike

    As has always been true, don’t give money to people or organizations you don’t know, or the operations of which are opaque and ill-defined. That’s not to say you can’t be ripped off otherwise, but it’s a lower risk.

    Honestly, this is what I hate about the digital age: the techno-boosterism promoting the notion that technology remedies the dark side of the human condition. It doesn’t; it actually heightens it.

  • BReynolds33

    Side note: I’m not sure if I am happy there is a “people are jerks” tag here at News Cut, or if I am just resigned to the necessity.

    • jon

      Take solace in how many articles are dual tagged with “People doing good” and “People are jerks”

  • AL287

    It was only a matter of time before online fundraising became the latest con game.

    You can’t even trust the American Red Cross to do what it promised with funds donated for natural disaster relief. You can read the ProPublica report on the efforts after the Haitian earthquake.

    Just like all politics is local, so is charity. There are many small nonprofits that are making a difference in their communities across Minnesota who are equally deserving of your donations.

    It’s sad that let the buyer beware has become let the giver beware.

    • Jack

      Check out the Red Cross and the fundraising around 9/11.

      I won’t donate to United Way based on their history in the 80’s and 90’s.

  • The Resistance

    GoFundMe campaigns have no accountability and are a scam waiting to happen. I always avoid them.

    I’ve always used charitynavigator.org to determine whether or not to give. MPR get four stars 🙂

    I’m also not a huge fan of the 7% processing fees that Give to the Max charges. I appreciate the attention they give to philanthropy, but that’s pretty steep.

  • lindblomeagles

    Have to admit, this is a pretty elaborate scam. First, they scam the public into helping the three of them out; then they set up a mock lawsuit to gain more money from the public. Ingenious really. This is right up there with Bernie Madoff and Tom Petters. Impressive. If only they used their minds for good.