GoFundMe couple will likely face indictment, lawyer says
The New Jersey couple accused of misusing the $400,000 they raised for a homeless veteran on GoFundMe will likely be charged in the case, their lawyer said on Monday.
Ernest Badway, the lawyer for the couple, wrote in a letter last Thursday that his firm would no longer represent Mark D’Amico, 39, and Katelyn MClure, 28. He represented them in the civil case, but said one or both could be indicted by the Burlington County prosecutor. NBC Philadelphia reported that the letter came to light after a Superior Court judge granted a stay in the civil case until December.
A civil suit brought by Johnny Bobbitt—the homeless military veteran who used his last $20 to buy McClure gas-- accuses the couple of mismanaging donations raised for him through GoFundMe. The couple denied the claims in the suit, saying they’re wary of giving Bobbitt large sums because they feared he’d buy drugs.
"(Since) it is expected that one or both of the defendants will likely be indicted, my firm and I will no longer be able to continue our representation of them in this matter," Badway wrote.
He declined Monday to comment further. It's unclear if he will represent D'Amico and McClure in a possible criminal proceeding.
"... it is expected that one or both of the defendants will likely be indicted, my firm and I will no longer be able to continue our representation of them in this matter."
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina last week confirmed that there’s a criminal investigation into the couple, citing the "enormous" public interest in the case. No charges have been brought.
D'Amico and McClure have earlier denied wrongdoing or misusing the cash, which was raised on GoFundMe from 14,000 contributors.
Badway said his clients plan to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, NJ.com reported.
The formerly feel-good story has turned sour, with Bobbitt saying the couple used the funds as "personal piggy bank."
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In 2017, Bobbitt used $20 to help a stranded McClure get gas when her car ran out on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. As a way to help repay his kindness, McClure and D'Amico launched a GoFundMe page that brought in just over $400,000 in contributions.
The account, at first, led to appearances for Bobbitt and McClure on national TV programs, but turned into a dispute over the money.
Chris Fallon, Bobbitt's attorney, earlier said he had gotten about $75,000 of the cash. But Badway has said Bobbitt got about $200,000.
GoFundMe announced last week that it will ensure Bobbitt gets the full amount he is owed, whether or not the civil suit recovers any money, NJ.com reported.
D'Amico has said Bobbitt spent $25,000 in less than two weeks last year on drugs as well as paying for overdue legal bills and sending money to family. Bobbitt's attorney said last week Bobbitt was entering a residential program for drug treatment.
The couple also bought Bobbitt a camper with some of the cash and parked it on land McClure's family owns in New Jersey. But Bobbitt became homeless again after D'Amico reportedly told him in June he had to leave.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.