New Jersey woman Katelyn McClure has been sentenced to a year in prison after confessing to her role in a GoFundMe scam that netted her $400,000 (£333,208). McClure launched a fake campaign to help a homeless veteran.
Katelyn McClure, 32, was released under supervision by a federal court on Thursday and ordered to pay back the money. McClure will be convicted on state charges next month and could face additional prison terms.
In 2017, Katelyn McClure and her ex-boyfriend Mark D’Amico started a GoFundMe campaign to supposedly help Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless veteran.
The Paying It Forward charity was launched just before the holidays to support Bobbitt Jr.’s rehabilitation after he allegedly gave McClure his last $20 after she ran out of gas and was stranded on a Philadelphia freeway was.
It was later discovered that the couple had made up the story to scam people. They recognized Bobbitt when they spotted him under an underpass a month earlier. It was fabricated that he found his last $20. To get the financiers to “keep paying it,” McClure orchestrated the story.
Until Bobbitt sued McClure and D’Amico, claiming they squandered money on expensive items including a motorized RV, a BMW and trips to casinos, the trio had reaped well from their scam. Bobbitt said they only gave him about $75,000 total.
Katelyn McClure’s GoFundMe campaign scammed 14,000 contributors
Kate McClure in Burlington County Superior Court (Photo via AP)
To get Bobbitt off the streets, a goal of $10,000 was originally set for GoFundMe. When the news first broke, it was covered by local and national media, and after 14,000 donors came forward, donations soon surpassed the $10,000 goal and went well beyond to reach $400,000 .
After Bobbitt claimed he did not receive the money from the couple, law enforcement began investigating the campaign. According to the investigation, the money had been embezzled.
According to the federal criminal complaint, McClure and D’Amico reportedly spent all of the GoFundMe funds through March 2018, with the majority going towards a recreational vehicle, a BMW, and casino trips in Las Vegas and New Jersey.
D’Amico accepted a plea deal in Burlington County in 2019 that included a five-year sentence. Bobbitt admitted to conspiring to steal through fraud. He received a five-year suspended sentence that included a drug rehabilitation program as a condition of his conviction.
Both are due next month on numerous state charges, as is Katelyn McClure.
In New Jersey Superior Court in 2019, McClure admitted guilt to second-degree theft by fraud as a condition of the agreement. She is also scheduled to face a state arraignment the following month, which could lead to more prison terms.