Woman Sentenced to Prison Over $400,000 GoFundMe Scam Built on Fake Story About Homeless Man

The New Jersey woman who helped organize a bogus $400,000 GoFundMe about helping a homeless veteran was handed her prison sentence last week.

New Jersey woman has been sentenced in connection with a GoFundMe scam that raised $400,000 by creating a fake story about a homeless veteran. 

According to the Burlington County Sheriff’s Office, a federal judge on Thursday sentenced Katelyn McClure, 32, of Bordentown, to one year and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. McClure must also pay $400,000 in restitution.

In November 2017, McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D’Amico, 43, created a GoFundMe page called “Paying It Forward.” The couple claimed homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 39, gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas on a Philadelphia highway.

The GoFundMe, which initially set a goal of $10,000, reached $400,000 from 14,000 donors. However, the story was completely made up, as the couple actually befriended Bobbitt at a local casino. 

“In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her,” prosecutors wrote in a press release. “D’Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors.”

The Burlington County Sheriff’s Office added, “The donated funds were transferred by D’Amico and McClure from GoFundMe into accounts that they controlled. The majority of the money allegedly was quickly spent by D’Amico and McClure on personal expenses over the next three months.”

After D’Amico and McClure spent the majority of the money on vacations, new vehicles, and various expensive items, Bobbitt sued the couple in 2019, claiming he only received $75,000 from the donations.

D’Amico pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal in 2019. Last April, he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Bobbitt pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

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