GoFundMe says homeless veteran will receive money owed to him

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PHILADELPHIA -- Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless man who spent his last $20 to buy gas for a woman when she became stranded on a highway in Philadelphia last year, will receive the full balance of the money raised in his name on GoFundMe.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, GoFundMe and Bobbitt's lawyer announced Thursday night that he will receive an amount equal to the balance of the funds he did not get from the online fund-raiser set up for him in November.

Kate McClure, the woman that Bobbitt had bought gas for, started the campaign with her boyfriend Mark D'Amico as a way to thank Bobbitt.  Bobbitt's story quickly went viral and in just nine months the campaign had raised over $400,000.

However, the good deed evolved into a legal dispute when Bobbitt accused the couple of spending the money on themselves and using it to make purchases for him without giving him the money raised in his name. Bobbitt's attorney claimed Bobbitt only received $75,000 of the funds.

Last week a judge ordered that the couple had 24 hours to turn over the remainder of the $400,000. However, Bobbitt's attorney said all the cash for him was gone. Now, the county prosecutor's office is pursuing an investigation surrounding the allegedly missing funds.

According to a Facebook post from the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, due to "the enormous public interest in this matter," they confirmed that authorities searched the couple's residence Thursday in connection with the investigation.  However, no charges have yet been filed.

The Associated Press reported that during the search police confiscated bags and boxes of materials, and hauled away a new BMW from the couple's home.

Meantime, Bobby Whithorne, director of North America Communications for GoFundMe, said that Bobbitt will receive the funds.

"Johnny will be made whole and we're committing that he'll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from. GoFundMe's goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets [the] support he deserves," Whithorne told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "We'll continue to assist with the ongoing law enforcement investigation."

Whithorne said that not only will Bobbitt receive the balance of the funds, but the company is making it easier for donors in the Bobbitt campaign to get their money back.  GoFundMe is reportedly waiving the part of its refund policy that limits donors to a 30-day money-back guarantee. Bobbitt's campaign had over 14,000 donors and began in November, so most donors would no longer be qualified by 30-day policy.

"This is an extremely rare situation and we are working with law enforcement officials to get Johnny the money raised on his behalf, which means the 30-day policy does not apply in this case," Whitehorne told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "This campaign is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement, or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected."

GoFundMe has reportedly given $20,000 to a bank account created by Bobbitt's legal team to provide assistance during this investigation.

The company assured customers that although Bobbitt's case in unusual, they have "taken steps to prevent this extremely unique situation from occurring again."

Continuing coverage here.

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