Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A judge on Thursday ordered a New Jersey couple who raised more than $400,000 for a homeless man online to transfer the money to the court after they refused to give it to the man in one lump sum.
Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico raised the money for Johnny Bobbitt Jr. after Bobbitt used his last $20 to help the couple when they ran out of gas with no money on a Philadelphia highway in November. McClure posted about the story online and it went viral, with thousands of people donating to the GoFundMe page the couple created to help get Bobbitt back on his feet.
But because Bobbitt has a history of drug problems, McClure and D'Amico said they are reluctant to give him all of the money at once. Bobbitt has admitted to using some of the funds he has already received for drugs and is currently living on the streets again.
Bobbitt says he has received $75,000, which was spent mostly on a camper and SUV, while McClure and D'Amico say they gave him around $200,000.
The dispute led to a lawsuit, with Bobbitt demanding the funds and accusing the couple of using the money they raised for their own personal use.
On Thursday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow ordered McClure and D'Amico to surrender the funds within 24 hours to an account controlled by Bobbitt's pro bono attorneys until the court could determine how to allocate the money to Bobbitt.
"The court has to be concerned about donations given for philanthropic purposes ... and the number of donors," Dow said, according to the Cherry Hill-Courier Post.
The couple's attorney disputed the idea that his clients were in the wrong and insisted they were only looking out for Bobbitt's best interests.
"The idea my clients are the bad guys ... is completely not true," Ernest E. Badway said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They took time out of their own schedules, their own jobs, brought him to rehab centers...gave him cash on a daily basis."