A New Jersey woman who participated in defrauding GoFundMe contributors out of more than $400,000 by claiming to be collecting funds for a homeless man has been given a three-year prison sentence.
According to a news release from the Burlington County Prosecutor on Friday, Katelyn McClure, 32, is presently serving a 12-month and one-day sentence for her involvement in the fraud in a federal prison in Connecticut.
According to the prosecutor’s office, her state term and her time in federal prison will both run simultaneously. According to the press release, the judge further determined that McClure, who formerly worked for the state Department of Transportation, is “permanently forbidden from ever having another position as a public employee.”
McClure asserted that she was stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia in 2017 after running out of petrol. Johnny Bobbitt Jr., the homeless guy, allegedly noticed her and gave her his last $20 for gas.
Prosecutors claim that Bobbitt collected $75,000 from the fundraiser. After bringing a civil lawsuit against D’Amico and McClure, the con quickly came to light.
The truth was discovered by an investigation. The couple first encountered Bobbitt at an off-ramp close to a casino, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina, at least one month before the GoFundMe account went up. Investigators looked into messages the couple sent one other about the fraud and their financial woes. One of the texts McClure sent to a friend said, “Okay so wait the gas part is completely made up, but the guy isn’t. To make them feel awful, I had to create something up.
She was charged in 2018 together with D’Amico and Bobbitt for devising the scam, according to the prosecution.
According to the Burlington County prosecutor, McClure admitted guilt in 2019 to one crime of theft by fraud in the second degree.
In 2019, Bobbitt admitted to conspiring to steal by deceit and was given a five-year special probationary period that includes drug treatment. D’Amico also entered a guilty plea and consented to repayment to GoFundMe and the contributors as well as a five-year prison sentence in New Jersey in 2019.
McClure and her ex-boyfriend Mark D’Amico shared photos of McClure and Bobbitt on a freeway ramp along with a description of the “good act” on social media. As part of their efforts to repay the good Samaritan and help the homeless veteran get off the streets, they also launched a GoFundMe campaign.
More than 14,000 donors contributed when the story gained national attention and went viral. After fees, the con artists made around $367,000, according to court records.
The former couple allegedly used the funds to purchase a BMW, a vacation to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve, to gamble in casinos, Louis Vuitton handbags, and other things.
- How To Transform Yourself Into A Cartoon Avatar For Zoom Meetings
- Two Snowmobilers Killed In Avalanche In Colorado