Couple and homeless veteran charged in GoFundMe scheme

Prosecutors allege that homeless veteran Johnny Bobbit met Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, at a casino and concocted a get-rich-quick scheme.
4:35 | 11/16/18

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Transcript for Couple and homeless veteran charged in GoFundMe scheme
surprising new details in the gofundme scam involving a new Jersey couple and a homeless vet. You see them right there. Prosecutors say their good samaritan tale was predicated on a lie and it all duped kind-hearted donors into giving more than $400,000. Whit Johnson has the story. Good morning, whit. Reporter: George, good morning to you. This was the inspiring story that America wanted to believe, but prosecutors say it was greed that unraveled a web of lies. This morning, stunning new details in the heartwarming tale of paying it forward that authorities now say was a total lie. The paying it forward story that drove this fund-raiser might seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, it was. Reporter: In a comprehensive press conference Thursday, prosecutors say homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt did not meet Kate Mcclure on the side of a highway instead alleging they and mark d'amico actually met at a casino and concocted an elaborate get rich quick scheme to rip off Americans even staging this photo at a gas station. She did not run out of gas on an I-95 off-ramp and he did not spend his last $20 to help her. Rather, d'amico, Mcclure and Bobbitt conspired to pass off a fake feel-good story that would compel donors to contribute to their cause and it worked in a very big way. Reporter: The campaign immediately going viral raking in more than $400,000 in donations. It's like winning the lottery. Reporter: Less than an hour after the gofundme went live, Mcclure texted a friend saying the story was completely made up. Police also say Bobbitt posted a very similar good samaritan story on Facebook in 2012. He reported that he helped a woman who had both run out of gas and had a flat tire. I don't think that's a coincidence. Reporter: Prosecutors say the group may have gotten away with it if in August Bobbitt hadn't publicly accused Mcclure and d'amico of using his money to fund a lavish lifestyle spending nearly all of the money in less than five months, thousands of dollars on vacations, designer handbags and a BMW which was seized by officials. The trio now charged with theft by deception and conspiracy. Gofundme announcing it will refund all of the 14,000 donors like marine veteran James Tanaka who gave $250. We're always looking to help other Marines when we can. Reporter: And first time gofundme donor dawn salter who contributed 200. Because I couldn't feel like I've been scammed out of money. It's very frustrating and it's very dishonest. Reporter: Now, attorneys for the three charged in the case declined to comment. Prosecutors are urging people who want to donate to crowd funding sites to do their homework and use caution but want to emphasize this was a rare and extraordinary case. They do not want to scare people away from giving to good causes. We wouldn't want that. Thanks very much. Let's bring in Dan Abrams. I think we can agree if all true these are some pretty bad people. What kind of legal trouble are they facing. Up to ten years in prison each. I mean, you're talking about prosecutors who effectively have thrown the book at them. You've got one crime which is theft by deception essentially fraud, another conspiracy charge and so they'll have to decide how do we move forward against these three? I wonder are they going to try to get Bobbitt who is actually a homeless vet, that part is true, one of the only things that is true, are they going to try to get him to turn on the other two. What could they offer him? No jail time. They can offer him limited prison time, et cetera. I mean, you know, this is serious stuff he's facing and basically claiming that all of them are in cahoots together. That they designed this whole plan and with his assistance it becomes a lot easier to prosecute the other two. Do you think they would have gotten away with this but for this lawsuit? They definitely would have. The only reason that anyone knows about what really happened is because Bobbitt, the homeless guy ends up suing the other two saying where is my cut of the share? Knowing that this was all a scam. But he's basically saying, wait a sec. You guys can't get all the money. The problem is the other two already spent the money and couldn't give it to him. He actually hired a lawyer and now the whole thing gets exposed. He probably would be pretty willing to turn if they offered him a decent deal. You would think so particularly considering what his situation was. So we'll see. Dan Abrams, thanks very much.

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