People dream of winning large sums of money thinking it will be the answer to all their problems. Yet, those who do win it big often find that money can’t always solve those problems. In fact, money often creates more problems.
In 2017, a homeless veteran thought he was finally going to be able to turn his life around after thousands donated money to get him off the streets. However, he quickly learned that the money was more of a curse than a blessing after it caused endless problems and resulted in an ugly legal battle.
In October 2017, a young woman found herself stranded and alone on the streets of Philadelphia after her car broke down. According to the woman, she hadn’t noticed that she was running low on gas. She immediately exited the highway as soon as she realized, however, it was too late.
Stranded and Alone
At the end of the exit ramp, the woman’s car broke down. She tried not to panic but was acutely aware that she wasn’t in a great area and was completely alone. To make matters worse, she didn’t have any money even if she did manage the courage to get out of the car and walk to the nearest gas station.
A Guardian Angel
A few minutes later, however, a bearded man who appeared to be homeless approached the car. He introduced himself as Johnny and explained that he had watched the woman’s car break down while he was panhandling nearby. He also told the woman that he wanted to help if she needed it.
Keeping His Promise
Since Kate McClure didn’t have any money with her, the homeless man told her he would walk to the nearest gas station and buy her some gas. He promised he would be back soon and told her to lock her doors while she waited. Sure enough, Johnny came back a little while later with a small gas can.
His Last Penny
When McClure learned that Johnny had spent $20, which was all the money he had to his name, to help her, she was speechless. She thanked him profusely before driving away. However, in the days that followed, McClure couldn’t stop thinking about the man who helped her and told everyone she knew about what happened.
Returning the Favor
McClure went back to the spot her car broke down with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, to look for Johnny. They wanted to properly thank him and repay him for his kindness. When they found him, the couple gave him some cash, food, and some warm clothes to help him get through the upcoming winter. But it still didn’t feel like enough.
A Struggling Veteran
Over the next few weeks, McClure and D’Amico returned to the area to bring Johnny more food and supplies. During each visit, they spoke to McClure’s guardian angel and discovered Johnny, or John Bobbitt Jr., was originally from North Carolina. They also learned that he had served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Spiraling Out of Control
According to the couple, they discovered that Johnny was a trained paramedic, considered going to school to become a nurse, and had been engaged. However, his life spiraled out of control after he started using drugs and became addicted. After losing his job and the trust of his loved ones, Johnny tried to get clean and get his life back on track.
Rebuilding His Life
For a short time, he was doing well. Johnny even moved to Philadelphia for a job opportunity, but when that fell through, he ended up on the streets and using drugs again. McClure and D’Amico were struck by the fact that Johnny had led such a normal life before his drug use destroyed everything. They couldn’t help but feel like anyone could be in Johnny’s position and wanted to help him get his life back.
One Little Break
So McClure decided to set up a GoFundMe account in Johnny’s honor. “[I] truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully, with your help, I can be the one to give it to him. Any little bit will help,” McClure explained on the GoFundMe page. At first, McClure set their target goal to $10,000 to get Johnny established in an apartment, get him a car, and get him prepared to get a job.
However, news of Johnny’s selfless deed and McClure’s inspiring desire to help the homeless veteran quickly made headlines around the world. The pair were interviewed by various newspapers and TV shows. Before long, more than 14,000 people had donated over $400,000 to Johnny.
Life Changing Money
“He will never have to worry about a roof over his head again!!” McClure and D’Amico wrote on GoFundMe while thanking everyone who donated. They also explained that they wouldn’t be handing over all the money to Johnny since he was still a recovering addict. The couple explained they wanted to be sure that the money would be used wisely so Johnny never ends up back on the street.
In order to do that, the couple hired a lawyer and a financial adviser to create a plan for Johnny. “The first thing on the list is a NEW Home which Johnny will own!!” the couple wrote in a GoFundMe update. “There will also be 2 trusts set up in his name, one essentially giving him the ability to collect a small ‘salary’ each year and another retirement trust which will be wisely invested by a financial planner which he will have access to in a time frame he feels comfortable with so when the time comes he can live his retirement dream of owning a piece of land and a cabin in the country.”
The Plan Continued
“A bank account will be set up for him with funds for everyday needs that will get him through until he finds a job,” the couple wrote. “And lastly, he will be donating to a few organizations and people who over the last couple of years have helped him get through this rough patch in his life.” According to Johnny, however, things didn’t really happen as McClure and D’Amico had promised.
Instead, the couple bought a caravan in McClure’s name and allowed Johnny to live in it on her family’s property. They also never bought Johnny his dream 1999 Ford Ranger truck. Instead, they purchased an SUV also in McClure’s name that broke down shortly after. At one point, the couple gave Johnny $25,000 but decided not to give him much more after he spent it all in 13 days on drugs and suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat addiction.
Back on the Streets
The SUV and caravan in McClure’s name have since been sold by the couple, who then told Johnny he had to leave their property. By August of 2018, Johnny was back on the streets begging for food and money. Now, Johnny has been forced to fight for the money that is rightfully his in another attempt to turn his life around.
Johnny, who is now in a drug rehabilitation center fighting to overcome his addiction, recently filed a lawsuit against the couple. In the lawsuit, he has accused McClure and D’Amico of stealing the money and using it to fund various vacations to California, Florida, and Las Vegas. He also suspects they used his money to buy a BMW and gamble.
An Investigation Begins
Johnny also claimed he only received about $75,000 while the couple claimed they gave him $200,000. After all these months, Johnny is worried that all the money is now gone. As a result, the Florence Township Police Department has begun a criminal investigation into the matter to see if McClure and D’Amico really did steal the donations from Johnny.
A New Goal
“I hate that it came to this,” Johnny told ABC News. “I didn’t want to be pressuring to get a lawyer or do anything, because I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.” Johnny understands the reason the couple was originally hesitant to give him the money and understands he still can’t be trusted with a large amount of money. However, it is still rightfully his and he hopes to put any of the remaining money into a trust and learn how to manage it. He also hopes he will still be able to turn his life around and move back to either North Carolina or Montana.
The couple may be indicted over the matter. Meanwhile, police and GoFundMe officials are trying to figure out if any of the money is left and what the couple spent the money on. However, GoFundMe has recently announced a promise to give Johnny the money that was raised for him if it’s determined that the McClure and D’Amico did use the funds.
November 15, 2018: The Daily Mail reported that, “A complaint obtained by NBC10 alleged the trio conspired to make up a fake story to raise money. [McClure and D’Amico] deliberately prevented donors from knowing information ‘that would affect their judgement about solicited contribution to that fundraising effort.'” The couple is currently under investigation and could face up to 10 years in prison.