Last year, the story of homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt using his last $20 to buy a stranded woman on the street some gas inspired people across the country.
The woman, Kate McClure, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, set up a GoFundMe page to give back to Bobbit, and it quickly raised $400,000.
But as Dearly previously reported, the whole story turned out to be a lie.
The three were arrested and charged with conspiracy and theft by deception after prosecutors alleged they worked together to fabricate a fictitious tale that would bring in donations.
Police said the couple spent the funds raised on gambling, vacations, and a car instead of resources for Bobbitt like they promised GoFundMe donors.
When Bobbitt didn’t get the cut he was promised, he filed a lawsuit alleging they mismanaged his funds. That’s when authorities looked into where the cash went.
Now that their alleged scam has been uncovered, GoFundMe is taking action.
Spokesman Bobby Whithorne told the Associated Press that “all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded.”
Roughly 14,000 people donated in order to raise the cash for the campaign.
Whithorne said scams make up “less than one-tenth” of GoFundMe campaigns and that they take the trustworthiness of their platform very seriously.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior. If fraud occurs, donors get refunded and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money.”
It’s standard for GoFundMe to refund donors if “something isn’t right” about a campaign. It has a guarantee about the issue on its website.
In texts seized by investigators, McClure and D’Amico suggested that they went through with the fraudulent story due to mounting debts, CNN reports.
They’d met Bobbitt at least a month before the now-defunct campaign went live on GoFundMe.
The New Jersey couple and Bobbitt met again at the spot a month later where they orchestrated the scheme.