A couple from New Jersey and a homeless man are accused of putting the program together, which raised more than $ 400,000.
"All donors contributing to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully reimbursed, and GoFundMe fully protects the donors. We have a comprehensive refund policy," said GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne. The campaign had attracted around 14,000 donors.
The couple, Kate McClure and Mark D & # 39; Amico, and the homeless Johnny Bobbitt Jr. are being charged with fraud and conspiracy by fraud.
The couple said they had met Bobbitt when he gave McClure, who was stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, his last $ 20 to put gasoline in his car and launched the GoFundMe campaign to thank him. 1
" The pay-it-forward story that drives this fundraiser forward Eb seems too good to be true, "said Burlington County Attorney Scott Coffina a press conference last month. "Unfortunately that was the case, the entire campaign was based on a lie."
According to the charges, the proceeds of the campaign netted about $ 367,000, all deposited on McClure's accounts, Coffina said. Bobbitt received $ 75,000, and within months, McClure and D & # 39; Amico had "squandered" their share to buy a car, high-end handbags, and travel, Coffina said. They also used it in casinos, he said.
"People feel bad"
Coffina emphasized that thanks to Bobbitt, a veteran, for his commitment and sympathy for the country, he was co-responsible for the crime and made media appearances to contribute to "promoting the fraudulent campaign".
According to Coffina, McClure and D & # 39; Amico first met with Bobbitt in an off-ramp near one of their visited casinos, at least one
CNN's Madeline Holcombe, Dakin Andone, Evan Simko-Bednarski and Olivia Kiely contributed to the report.