Viral GoFundMe Campaign Was A Hoax, Prosecutor Says

Remember that heartwarming story about a homeless man who gave his last $20 to a stranded woman who ran out of gas? Well, as it turns out, it was all a lie.

Court documents show that Johnny Bobbitt (the homeless man) conspired with Katelyn McClure (the stranded woman) and her former boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, to devise an uplifting tale about a generous vagrant. The goal? To convince the public to donate money to a GoFundMe campaign that was set up in Bobbitt’s honor.

The campaign was enormously successful, and raised approximately $400,000 in funds. But things went south when Bobbitt claimed that he didn’t receive all the money that he should have.

Photos posted on the couple’s social media accounts suggested that they used the funds to go on lavish vacations and expensive shopping trips. An investigation was launched, and the couple’s newly purchased BMW was seized in the process.

But things took an even worse turn when investigators discovered that the homeless man himself, Johnny Bobbitt, was in on it. A text message that McClure sent to her best friend revealed the deceptive nature of the story.

“Okay, so wait. The gas part is completely made up, but the guy isn’t,” McClure wrote. “I had to make something up to make people feel bad. So shush about the made up stuff.”

The prosecutor said the trio likely would have gotten away with it if they hadn’t run out of money and started fighting. Now, all three are facing charges of conspiracy and theft by deception.

“This type of case can damage the psyche of the public,” said prosecutor Scott Coffina. “A case like this can make generous people skeptical and a little more hesitant to help someone else in need.”

GoFundMe has promised to refund everyone who donated.

Photo courtesy of Sharaf Maksumov / Shutterstock