I wrote about this for the first time in 2018 and suggested it would make for a great Coen Brothers movie. I stand by that. It should star Paul Walter Hauser as Johnny Bobbitt, Channing Tatum as Mark D’Amico, and Elizabeth Banks as Katelyn McClure. I will write the screenplay.
The Facts: In December 2017, Johnny S. Bobbitt Jr. — an unhoused man living under a bridge and panhandling for food and money — reportedly encountered 27-year-old Kate McClure after she ran out of gas on a Philadelphia freeway. Bobbitt reportedly gave her his last $20 so that she could fill up on gas.
McClure was so taken with Bobbitt’s gesture that she and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, set up a GoFundMe to promote Bobbitt’s Good Samaritan-ness. Americans love a feel-good story about a poor person helping out a white woman! They loved this story so much that 14,000 people donated to GoFundMe, raising $400,000 for Bobbitt. D’Amico and McClure appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, and the formerly unhoused Bobbitt not only landed a home but a cell phone, a computer, and a truck!
Humanity can be surprisingly compassionate sometimes. Trash people have been known to take advantage. As it turns out, Bobbitt, McClure, and D’Amico were all in cahoots. They made up the story and conspired together to start the GoFundMe to enrich themselves. They knew it would work because Bobbitt had made up a similar story back in 2012 and posted it on Facebook.
Everything would have gone off without a hitch except that McClure and D’Amico didn’t share the proceeds evenly. They gave Bobbitt $75,000 and kept the rest for themselves, blowing it on a BMW and vacations. Bobbitt sued them for the rest of the proceeds. They claimed that they had set the money aside in a bank account for Bobbitt because they didn’t want to give it to him because he was blowing all the money on drugs.
The Verdict: They all overplayed their hands. When Bobbitt sued the other two, all was revealed to be a scam, and all three were charged in the case. On Friday, McClure was the last to be federally sentenced for her role in the scheme. She got three years in prison. Last year, Mark D’Amico was sentenced to five years in prison for his role. Bobbitt, meanwhile, got a fairly light sentence comparatively speaking. He was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution, and admitted into a treatment facility for those with addiction issues.