Viral £300,000 GoFundMe story ‘completely fake’
Prosecutors claim trio made up good samaritan story purely for profit
Prosecutors in the US have accused a New Jersey couple and a homeless man of manufacturing a viral hoax that raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through a crowd-funding website.
Officials say the story of homeless man Johnny Bobbitt Jr giving his last $20 to Kate McClure when she ran out of petrol on Interstate 95 in Philidelphia, who then started a GoFundMe page as a way to say thank you, is false.
The campaign, which quickly went viral, raised more than £310,000, which McClure and her partner Mark D’Amico said they would release to Bobbitt once he had completed a drug rehabilitation program.
“The paying-it-forward story that drove this fundraiser might seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, it was. The entire campaign was predicated on a lie,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said.
The story began to unravel when Bobbitt sued McClure and D’Amico, telling media that the couple had not provided him with the promised funds, The Guardian says.
CNN reports that Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico face charges of “second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception”.