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Lawyer for good Samaritan homeless man says all money from viral fundraiser is gone

"I was shocked and just appalled," an attorney for homeless man Johnny Bobbitt said after she was informed none of the money is left.
by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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An attorney representing a homeless man who is trying to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars raised in a GoFundMe campaign that went viral claims he was told that there is no money left.

Chris Fallon, an attorney representing homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., told NBC Philadelphia that he learned the more than $402,000 that was raised is gone in a conference call with attorneys for the couple who headed the campaign last year, Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico.

"Shock. I was shocked and just appalled," another of Bobbitt's attorneys, Jacqueline Promislo, who was on the conference call, said in a phone interview with NBC News later Tuesday.

She said there was no explanation about the money, other than that they were told "there was no money transferred because there was no money left," and that "it was not up for interpretation."

The couple's attorney, Ernest E. Badway, declined to comment in an email to NBC News.

A judge ordered Wednesday that McClure and D'Amico must appear for depositions next week. Superior Court Judge Paula Dow said questions about what happened to some of the funds "lacks clarity" in the case and that she needed to hear from the couple themselves.

During the hearing, Badway tried to assert his clients' Fifth Amendment right against incriminating themselves, but Dow said McClure and D'Amico could assert any rights and privileges for themselves in court.

"I am no longer comfortable with counsel representing what their clients purport to say, when I have no certifications from the clients, no appearances by the clients, and a record that before me lacks clarity at times as to what happened with the funds," she said.

Fallon said during the hearing that he's not sure he believes all of the funds are gone.

"We'd like to look for the money so that any money that’s available for Johnny Bobbitt given by those 14,000 wonderful individuals can in fact go to Mr. Bobbitt," he said.

She ordered both sides to share discovery and documentation with each other by the end of the business day. Bobbitt also has to be deposed in the case. An attorney for Bobbitt said he is entering a 28-day residential drug rehab program, but that he could potentially be deposed from there.

The initially heartwarming tale began last November, when Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas on a freeway ramp outside of Philadelphia. As a sign of gratitude, McClure and D'Amico later started a campaign, which drew more than 14,000 donations.

But it turned into a legal dispute in late August when attorneys for Bobbitt filed a lawsuit to try and force the couple to turn over whatever was left of the money that was raised for him.

Last Thursday, a New Jersey judge had ordered McClure and D'Amico to do so.

In an interview with NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today" last week, the couple said that they did not use any of the money that was raised, but they also said they believed there could be as little as $150,000 left after they said Bobbitt spent money on family, a trailer, truck and drugs.

They said that they set up an account for Bobbitt but not with all of the money, because they were worried that he would spend it on drugs.

"We saw the pattern that was developing ... that he was going to do something foolish, and end up right back where he was," D'Amico told Kelly. The couple claimed Bobbitt went through $25,000 in 13 days.

In court documents filed by Bobbitt's attorneys, the couple was accused of using "substantial portions of the money raised for their own personal use.”

Promislo said that Bobbitt has said that, including a truck and camper which the couple bought but was never in Bobbitt’s name, about $75,000 has been disbursed from the over $400,000 fund. The truck and camper were later sold by the couple, the lawyer said.

In court last week, Badway said that Bobbitt had received at least $200,000 of the funds, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Last week, the judge who ordered them to turn over the remainder of the money said that the couple must give the money to their defense lawyer, who was directed to place funds into an escrow account as the case continues, NBC Philadelphia reported. The judge also ordered McClure and D'Amico to provide a full accounting of the money they raised.

Promislo said that Bobbitt is currently homeless and focusing on getting into rehab. She said he was addicted to heroin, was successful in a program for a long period of time and relapsed, and was getting suboxone, an opioid-treatment drug, but when he was unable to get the hard-to-obtain medication he also bought it illegally.

D'Amico told Megyn Kelly last week that they were "in the process of having everything looked over by our lawyer" and that the money would soon be out of their hands.

"The issue is not what Johnny did with it," Promislo said. "The issue is what did Kate and Mark do with the money."

"Now they're attempting this very patronizing [argument] that they're trying to protect him from himself," she said.

In a statement, GoFundMe said it was working with law enforcement to ensure Bobbitt receives all of the funds raised for him and has given $20,000 to a bank acount created by Bobbitt's legal team.

"While we assist law enforcement with their ongoing investigation, GoFundMe is also working with Johnny's legal team to ensure he's receiving support while the remaining funds are being recovered," the company said.

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