Homeless man sues couple who raised N145m to help him

Larry Hoffman
September 3, 2018

A homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia got him worldwide attention is suing the couple who led a $400,000 fundraising campaign to help him.

Identified as Johnny Bobbitt, he became an internet sensation after he gave his last $20 to a woman identified as Kate McClure, when her vehicle ran out of petrol. It raised more than US$400,000 in funds donated by more than 14,000 people.

"I had to ask them for everything in the beginning", Bobbitt said, according to WPVI.

Mr Bobbitt's lawsuit alleges that they committed fraud by taking a large portion of the donations raised for him on GoFundMe for themselves.

She also demanded the couple hire a forensic accountant to review their financial records within 10 days, to see if they had a hand in depleting Bobbitt's donations.

This is in reference to claims McClure recently bought a new BMW, and the couple have taken frequent trips to Florida and Las Vegas together.

Mr D'Amico claims Bobbitt spent $25,000 in less than a fortnight in December on narcotics, in addition to paying off overdue legal bills and sending money to his family.

The couple deny those claims, saying they're wary of giving Bobbitt large sums because they fear he will buy drugs.

Earlier this month, D'Amico said to a reporter that there was $200,000 left of the money in their savings account, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The pair has now been ordered to give all the remaining money to Bobbitt's attorney who will put it in an escrow account until the judge rules on how it should be managed.

There are conflicting reports from the couple and Bobbitt about how the money was used and whether Bobbitt was a participant or a victim.

"We saw the pattern that was developing. that he was going to do something foolish and end up right back where he was", D'Amico said.

Bobbitt lawyer Chris Fallon told CNN that as of late Friday evening - hours after the money was expected to arrive - he had not received the balance.

"I wish it didn't come to this", said Bobbitt, who is reportedly now back on the streets.

Fallon told the judge that Bobbitt has received about $75,000 from the GoFundMe account, KYW reported. "He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more".

The couple also bought Mr Bobbitt a camper van with some of the funds and parked it on land Ms McClure's family owns in Florence.

Since the GoFundMe page went viral, McClure and D'Amico were able to get Bobbitt a place of his own to live in. "And if the monies aren't in the bank, they can pull their money out of their pillowcases and have them delivered to you to be handed over and placed in a trust account - an attorney trust account", she said.

The money that came to Bobbitt couldn't stop his addiction.

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