Many people will remember the heart-warming story in 2017 about a homeless veteran giving a stranded woman his last $20 for petrol so she could get safely home. The story led to a viral GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the homeless man and give him a home and a job. In fact, the campaign raised hundreds of thousands from generous donors.

Now it turns out the whole thing may have been a get-rich-quick plot between Mark D’Amico, Kate McClure and the homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt

Couple and homeless vet in a get-rich-quick scheme

NBC in Philadelphia reported on Wednesday that prosecutors believe that D’Amico, McClure, and Bobbitt conspired to make the fake campaign to raise money for themselves.

That report says the couple has handed themselves in to police, but that Bobbitt is still at large.

NBC’s source told them they have a copy of the criminal complaint, adding that all three persons will likely face charges of conspiracy, for creating the ruse, and theft by deception, for robbing the generous donors. An announcement is said to be expected on Thursday by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s office in the case.

The New York Post attempted to get a comment from the prosecutors, but their call was not returned. They also tried to contact a representative of the couple and homeless man, without success.

How the ruse began

It was in November last year that D’Amico, 39, and McClure, 28, told the media that a homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, had given McClure his last $20 to fill her petrol tank after she ran out of petrol on I-95 near Philadelphia.

They claimed in their GoFundMe page that they wanted to help the homeless man for his generosity and the campaign soon went viral, with tens of thousands of dollars raised by donors in just a few days. The campaign ultimately raised over $400,000 (£313,252), allegedly for the homeless man. McClure said at the time that the GoFundMe campaign had changed her outlook on people, as so many strangers generously made the donations.

GoFundMe plot goes wrong

However, the couple’s plans went wrong in August 2018, when Bobbitt sued the pair, claiming they were keeping funds raised in the campaign from him. He claimed they were living the good life, while he was still without money. In response, the couple claimed Bobbitt was taking drugs and that they wouldn’t pay him until he came clean.

Now it sounds like Bobbitt was also a victim of the couple’s scam. The couple’s lawyer had said in September that they were both facing indictment for their part of the scam, but now it has been revealed that the homeless man was involved in the plot.