Editor’s Note: On Nov. 15, 2018, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office announced that the three central figures in this story had been arrested and charged with second-degree theft by deception and other offenses. Prosecutors concluded that their dramatic tale of rescue and redemption had been “completely made up.” Story detailing the findings can be found here.
A lawyer for Johnny Bobbitt Jr. said Saturday a Burlington County couple still had not complied with a court order to hand over what was left of the $400,000 they raised for the homeless man in a GoFundMe campaign.
No immediate action was taken in response to the reported failure to meet the transfer deadline, which was Friday afternoon. Jacqueline Promislo, one of Bobbitt's pro bono lawyers from Cozen O'Connor PC, said they do not intend to take any legal action over the weekend.
On Friday night, Chris Fallon, another lawyer at Cozen O'Connor, which has set up an escrow account for the GoFundMe funds, said if the money is not transferred over the Labor Day weekend, the firm would file a petition to enforce the court's order.
Judge Paula T. Dow in Mount Holly on Thursday ordered Mark D'Amico, 35, and Kate McClure, 28, to transfer what remained of the GoFundMe funds from their savings account into a frozen third-party account. The ruling was made after Bobbitt claimed in a lawsuit that the two had used the money to "enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford," including taking expensive vacations and buying a BMW.
Ernest Badway, the lawyer for D'Amico and McClure, declined comment Saturday.
Sometimes, it can take several hours for wire transfers to show up in a recipient's account, Fallon said Friday night, adding that the firm would monitor the escrow account over the weekend.
McClure, a receptionist for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and D'Amico, a carpenter, could not be reached Friday.
Fallon said they were forced to file the suit and ask that what remained of the $400,000 be frozen after different estimates by Bobbitt and the couple of what was left in the account.
"I was afraid if we didn't move quickly with a lawsuit, something might happen. I hope my fear is not realized," Fallon said. "I'm hopeful this is just a misunderstanding, and the money will be delivered to us promptly."
How much of the $400,000 remained is unknown.
At Thursday's hearing before Dow, the couple's lawyer said Bobbitt had received about $200,000 from the GoFundMe effort since last November, when it was launched.
Fallon told the court that his client had received $75,000, including money spent on a camper and a used SUV the couple bought for him, but listed McClure as the legal owner. The camper and the SUV were later sold, Fallon told the court, and Bobbitt is again homeless.
After the GoFundMe account was established, the story got national attention and the donations started rolling in. McClure then said the money would go toward buying a house for Bobbitt and a 1999 Ford Ranger, his dream vehicle. She also said two trusts would be set up for him.
Months later, D'Amico said, the money was instead put into the couple's savings account. The couple have said they did not want to give large sums of money to Bobbitt because he was struggling with addiction and might buy drugs.
The campaign was born after Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she became stranded in Philadelphia in November after her vehicle ran out of gas in Kensington. Bobbitt, a 34-year-old from North Carolina who had been living under an I-95 ramp, gave her all the money he had on him so she could get home.