GoFundMe Refunded Donors In Homeless Vet Scam -- Can The Campaigns Continue To Flourish After This Scandal?

The GoFundMe campaign involving a homeless vet ended up as a major scandal. Can these fundraising tools still be trusted?

source: USA Today

The made-up feel-good story featuring a homeless vet has yet taken another twist, and it has many questioning GoFundMe campaigns and their real goals.

This week, GoFundMe issued a statement revealing that it has refunded every penny of the $400,000 that was donated to New Jersey duo Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend at the time, Mark D’Amico, and veteran Johnny Bobbitt.

The money was given back to the generous donors after it was discovered that the homeless veteran from Philadelphia cooked up the fake story and schemed to collect almost half of a million dollars.

The trio pulled on the heartstrings of people all over the world with a fake tearjerking story that went like this -- D’Amico claimed that Bobbitt kindly gave McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas on the highway.

D’Amico and his girlfriend launched a campaign on the fundraising website asking for help: "I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day. He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more."

McClure appeared on

As the web of lies rapidly started to spin out of control,  Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina opened an investigation.

Coffina said at a news conference: “The paying-it-forward story that drove this fundraiser might seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, it was. The entire campaign was predicated on a lie.”

Can donors still trust these campaigns?