Kate McClure’s lawyer calls her too ‘naive’ to mastermind GoFundMe hoax
FLORENCE — Kate McClure is too naive to have concocted the GoFundMe scam that collected $400,000 in donations to help homeless man Johnny Bobbitt Jr., according to her attorney.
Bobbitt, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, made up the entire story of how Bobbitt gave his last $20 to McClure when she ran out of gas on Route 95 in South Philadelphia last fall, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
More than $400,000 was donated by thousands of people to a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping Bobbitt get back on his feet. The plan fell apart in August when Bobbitt went to the media claiming he never received most of the money and claimed McClure and D'Amico spent it all on trips, a luxury car and designer handbags.
McClure and her attorney, James Gerrow, told the New York Post that she was "set up" by D'Amico and Bobbitt and they took advantage of her kind nature. Gerrow said his client broke up with D'Amico in September and has not spoken to him since.
Gerrow told 6 ABC Action News that McClure truly thought she was helping a homeless veteran. He also thinks the scam stems from Bobbitt's heroin addiction and D'Amico being addicted to gambling. D'Amico admitted during an interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC that he had used some of the GoFundMe money to gamble but paid it back.
Coffina said Thursday that within an hour after the GoFundMe page went live, McClure texted a friend that the story was "completely made up."
“The gas part is completely made up but the guy isn’t," the text said. "I have to make something up to make people feel bad.”
Her father told the newspaper that he and his wife support their daughter.
Prosecutors say D'Amico met Bobbitt at a Pennsylvania casino a month before the GoFundMe story. They said the photo of Bobbitt and McClure on the side of the road was staged.
Investigators say bank records show that that more than $300,000 was transferred from McClure's account, which had received the GoFundMe funds, to D'Amico's account before the bank closed McClure's account in the spring.
Gerrow has not yet returned a message seeking comment.
GoFundMe has said that donors will be refunded.