NJ woman gets one year in jail for raising $400,000 in GoFundMe scam

A woman was recently sentenced to a year and a day in jail for her role in a GoFundMe scam in which she and an accomplice raised $400,000 for a homeless veteran using a story that turned out to be false.

Katelyn McClure, 32, of Bordentown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She also received three years of probation and was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution, according to a Justice Department press release.

In November 2017, McClure and ringleader Mark D’Amico, 43, decided to create a fraudulent crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, 39.

McClure and D’Amico posted a story about how she was driving home on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, only to run out of gas. She then met Bobbitt, who acted as a “good Samaritan” and gave McClure his last $20 to buy gas.

The GoFundMe campaign has set a goal of $10,000 in an effort to get Bobbitt out of homelessness while providing him with living expenses.

In this Nov. 17, 2017, photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure’s boyfriend Mark D’Amico pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia. When McClure ran out of gas, Bobbitt, who is homeless, donated his last $20 to buy gas for him. McClure launched a Gofundme.com campaign for Bobbitt which raised over $275,000. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, file)

The fundraising campaign went viral and gained national media coverage, and raised approximately $400,000 from more than 14,000 donors in less than three weeks.

However, it turned out McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt didn’t spend his last $20 on her.

McClure and D’Amico used the funds raised over the next three months to spend lavishly on vacations, gambling, a BMW vehicle, clothing, handbags and other items.

Bobbitt then sued McClure and D’Amico for not giving him the money they owed him, leading to a law enforcement investigation, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The district attorney’s office noted that $25,000 from the fraudulent campaign was deposited into Bobbitt’s account.

D’Amico had already pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April 2022 to 27 months in prison. He also awaits sentencing on a separate state charge next month, the AP noted.

D’Amico had reached a plea deal to declare charges in 2019 and was sentenced to five years in prison, the New York Post Noted.

Bobbitt has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting federal sentencing. He had previously been sentenced to five years probation for state charges in 2019.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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