N.J. Couple Accused of Spending Homeless Man's GoFundMe Donations Could Be Indicted, Lawyer Says
An attorney for Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico has said he may no longer represent the couple in the high-profile case, holding that they could be indicted
An attorney for a New Jersey couple accused of spending thousands of a homeless man’s GoFundMe donations could be indicted, according to their lawyer, who has has filed a motion saying he and his firm may no longer be able to continue representation, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
What began as a feel-good story has turned into a criminal investigation after Johnny Bobbitt, a 35-year-old homeless veteran living in Philadelphia, accused Kate McClure, 28, and her 39-year-old boyfriend Mark D’Amico of spending the more than $400,000 they raised for him on GoFundMe on lavish vacations and a new BMW.
Now, the couple’s lawyer has told a Burlington County judge that he and his law firm could possibly step down from representing the pair, holding that either McClure, D’Amico, or both will likely be indicted in the headline-making case.
“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,” the couple’s attorney, Ernest Badway, wrote in a motion filed Friday in Burlington County Superior Court. “(However, we are not seeking that relief at this time, we merely wanted to make the Court aware of the potential future development.)”
Badway declined to comment on the motion, but indicates to PEOPLE that he is currently representing McClure and D’Amico.
He noted in the motion that D’Amico and McClure are “unable to defend themselves or respond in any meaningful way” to requests to know where the remaining funds went because their financial and business records have been seized by prosecutors.
The motion came to light in a deposition on Monday, but was dated Thursday, according to CBS News — the same day the Florence Police Department raided McClure and D’Amico’s home, and seized their BMW in what Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina declared a “criminal investigation.”
Officials with the prosecutors office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE. However, no charges have been filed against the couple, according to CBS.
Burlington County Superior Court Judge Paula Dow on Monday granted Badway’s request to stay the civil suit, halting legal proceedings through Dec. 7 due to the criminal investigation.
Bobbitt, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, first met McClure last October, when her car ran out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Bobbitt famously spent his last $20 to buy gas for McClure. Moved by his kindness, she and D’Amico set up a GoFundMe page to help Bobbitt get back on his feet. More than 14,000 donated a total of $402,706 to the man.
The motion follows a string of twists in the case. Just days before police searched McClure and D’Amico’s home, an attorney for the couple told Dow that the remainder of Bobbitt’s massive sum is gone.
“It is safe to say that we were shocked and concerned when their lawyer told us Tuesday that there was no money left,” Bobbitt’s attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, previously told PEOPLE. “We are now doing some discovery on an emergency basis to try to figure out where the money went but at this time we have no further information.”
The couple had been ordered to hand the money over to Bobbitt’s attorneys, but never did. In a complaint filed by his attorney and obtained by PEOPLE, Bobbitt accused the couple of fraud and conspiracy, alleging that the couple spent most of the funds on vacations to Las Vegas, Florida, and California, along with a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and a new BMW for McClure.
McClure and D’Amico have denied the allegations and spoke about the incident last week on Megyn Kelly Today, claiming that they went above and beyond to track down the man’s birth certificate and get him identification.
“He was our family. He is our family. I still think, to this day, that he is our family,” McClure told Kelly. McClure spoke through tears as she claimed the couple’s been receiving death threats.
GoFundMe officials are working with authorities in the matter, and have set up an account with $20,000 with Bobbitt’s lawyers, according to Good Morning America. Officials with the fundraising site announced that Bobbitt will receive a portion of the donations as a result of their GoFundMe Guarantee program, a policy that ensures recipients receive their money, or those who have donated receive refunds in the event of “campaign misuse.”