I was thinking about this story yesterday while taking care of some chores around the house and it struck me that the tale of Johnny Bobbitt and Katie McClure is becoming more and more like The Truman Show. How will it end? John Sexton described how the cops had shown up and raided McClure’s house on Thursday, but more action took place both later that day and on Friday. First, we learned that there was no money left in the GoFundMe account that McClure and her boyfriend set up, leading to the police raid. But in less than 24 hours, GoFundMe announced that no matter where the money went, they would make good on Johnny Bobbitt’s expectations and pay off all of the cash which can’t be accounted for. (CBS Philadelphia)
GoFundMe says a homeless veteran will get the remaining balance of funds he has not received after the man’s lawyer says the account had been emptied.
Katie McClure and Mark D’Amico are accused of defrauding Johnny Bobbitt after raising $400,000 for him through GoFundMe. The couple were ordered to turn over the funds to Bobbitt last week, but it never happened.
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“Johnny will be made whole and we’re committing that he’ll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from. GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves,” GoFundMe said in a statement.
They’ll be taking quite a hit to make good on this because it’s looking more and more as if most of what McClure and D’Amico said has proven to be false. Aside from a single payment of $25K, nobody seems to be able to point to anything else of measurable value that Bobbitt received. The used RV and SUV which the couple purchased for him were never put in his name and have since been sold. But even if you count the cost of those vehicles, we’re still only looking at less than $75K. So once the court cases play out, Johnny might be in line for a payday in excess of $300K.
As far as the court cases go, there is now a criminal investigation on top of the civil case that Bobbitt’s pro bono attorney has brought against the couple. That civil case is now officially on hold. At the request of Bobbitt’s attorney, the judge has shut the suit down until at least December. The decision didnt’ speak to any lack of merit, but rather the fact that all of the financial records of McClure and D’Amico were seized by the cops in Thursday’s raid. Without those records being available for discovery, Bobbitt couldn’t move forward so he’ll have to wait for the police to sort out the rest of it.
The sore spot for Bobbitt’s attorney at this point is that the police case doesn’t technically exist yet. Officials in Burlington County released a statement indicating that no charges have yet been filed.
“Due to the enormous public interest in this matter, I am confirming that a search warrant was executed early this morning by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Florence Township Police Department at the residence of Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt matter,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a prepared statement.
“As of this time, there have been no charges filed. Further updates will be provided as circumstances warrant.”
This sad story is going to wind up raising all manner of legal questions when it comes to these crowdfunding websites. As things stand, anyone can set up a “benefit” drive for any cause they like with a few clicks of a mouse. If it attracts any media attention and public sympathy, significant sums of money may pour in. But while we would no doubt like to think that all of the people doing this are acting in good faith, human beings are what they are and some bad apples will always show up. Does the donated money belong to the person who set up the fund or the stated cause it’s supposedly going to support?
While those are all interesting questions, the one thing we shouldn’t lose track of is Johnny Bobbit himself. The media is reporting that he’s now in a drug rehab program. That’s no guarantee of success (as we’ve seen far too often with many celebrities), but at least he’s trying. If this Marine can get his act cleaned up and put a quarter million dollars in the bank, perhaps he’ll be on the path to turning his life around. And if he doesn’t, as I’ve written here before, that’s really not any of our business as long as he’s not hurting anyone but himself.