GoFundMe has announced the company has paid those who wanted to help out a homeless veteran who helped a stranded motorist a refund after it was found out that the motorist, her boyfriend and the homeless veteran had lied about their story.
Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico had said last year that McClure had run out of gas while driving in New Jersey. Homeless vet Johnny Bobbitt came to her rescue and got her gas with his last $20. Their story went viral, and tens of thousands of donors gave money via GoFundMe to help reward Bobbitt, media outlets reported at the time.
But the story was all part of a planned scam among the trio who are accused of bilking strangers out of more than $400,000, CBS News reported.
Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico are all now facing charges that were announced in November. Each person faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted of theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception, CBS News reported.
GoFundMe has given the 14,000 donors their money back. The online fundraising company used the business’ own money to pay it back, including the fee it collects of 2.9 percent per donation and an additional 30 cents, CBS News reported.
GoFundMe spokesperson, Bobby Whithorne, told USA Today, “All donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded” and the company is cooperating with law enforcement.
But he said this case is out of the ordinary, saying cases like these “make up less than one-tenth of 1 percent” of GoFundMe campaigns, USA Today reported.