NJ Woman Gets 1 Year in Prison for Collecting $400K in GoFundMe Scam

A woman was recently sentenced to one year and one day in prison 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 fake.

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

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 but had run out of gas. She then encountered Bobbitt, who acted as a “Good Samaritan” and gave McClure his last $20 to buy gas.

The GoFundMe campaign set a goal of $10,000 with the intention of getting 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, gave his last $20 to buy gas for her. McClure started a Gofundme.com campaign for Bobbitt that has raised more than $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 over 14,000 donors in less than three weeks.

However, it turned out McClure never ran out of gas, and Bobbitt did not spend his final $20 on her.

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

Bobbitt later sued McClure and D’Amico for not giving him the money they owed him, which led to an investigation by law enforcement, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The District Attorney’s Office did note that $25,000 from the fraudulent campaign was deposited into Bobbitt’s account.

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

D’Amico had entered a plea deal to state charges in 2019 and was sentenced to five years in prison, the New York Post noted.

Bobbitt also pled guilty and is awaiting federal sentencing. He was previously sentenced to five years’ probation on state charges in 2019.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.