Homeless veteran will get the $400,000 owed to him from GoFundMe campaign
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless Philadelphia ex-Marine, will get the money owed to him from a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $400,000 for him, his attorney Chris Fallon tells CNN.
“We reached an agreement today with GoFundMe and they have agreed to make sure he will be made whole,” Fallon says.
In a statement, the company said it would back the money raised:
“…Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected.”
Bobbitt has now received $20,000 as part of the guarantee, which will be used to get him an apartment and food, Fallon says.
The rest of the money will be handed over after GoFundMe conducts an investigation relying on items seized by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and what his attorneys turn over to them, Fallon says.
A couple, Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, started the campaign after McClure ran out of gas and became stranded last October, and Bobbitt helped her out with his last $20.
The page was titled “Paying it Forward,” and the response was incredible: 14,347 people donated $402,706 over the course of 10 months.
Since then, the money has been in dispute, and Bobbitt is suing the couple, accusing them of fraud. Bobbitt’s attorney says his client has only seen about $75,000 of that money and should have gotten about $300,000 more after GoFundMe’s fees.
The couple has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but a court order deadline for them to hand over the cash has passed.
In court on Thursday, the couple agreed to let a forensic accountant open up their books to see where those fundraising dollars were deposited.
Police executed a search warrant of their home Thursday, but the couple have not been charged with anything, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a statement.
The couple say they’re wary of giving Bobbitt the rest of the funds until the veteran secured a job and was off of drugs.
Before the court order to hand over the money was issued, D’Amico is quoted by The Philadelphia Inquirer as saying he’d rather burn the money in front of Bobbitt rather than give it to him, because he said giving an addict that money would be like “giving him a loaded gun.”
Bobbitt does have a drug addiction problem and plans to participate in a monthlong rehab program, according to his attorney.
As for the couple, they’ve been ordered to appear in a deposition on Monday, along with Bobbitt. The Superior Court Judge in New Jersey, Paula, T. Dow, said she’s no longer comfortable hearing only from the couple’s attorney and wants them to answer questions in person.