GoFundMe refunded more than $400,000 to 14,000 donors who believed they were helping a homeless veteran from Philadelphia — but later discovered it was an alleged scam concocted by a New Jersey couple.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Tuesday refunds were issued to those who donated to the fund to help Johnny Bobbitt that was created by Katelyn McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D’Amico. "While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences."
“All donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded,” Whithorne said, adding that the fundraising organization is cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation into the alleged scam.
Whithorne said campaigns involving misuse "make up less than one tenth of one percent" of all GoFundMe campaigns, but such behavior "is unacceptable" and "has consequences."
"We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior," he said. "If fraud occurs, donors get refunded and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money."
McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt face charges of theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft of deception after officials said they falsely claimed in a viral GoFundMe post in 2017 that Bobbitt -- who was homeless -- gave his last $20 to McClure so she could get gas when stranded in Philadelphia.
The couple, who turned themselves in to authorities last month, created the GoFundMe account supposedly to raise money for the homeless veteran. Their story, however, began to fall apart in August when Bobbitt sued the couple claiming they were using the GoFundMe money as their “personal piggy bank.” The couple allegedly used the money on luxury items and casino trips.
Investigators said the three deliberately prevented donors from gaining information "that would affect their judgment about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort," according to the criminal complaint.
Bobbitt was released on bail earlier this month. He was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times a week, NJ.com reported.
Fox News' Jennifer Earl, Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.