NJ woman in $400K GoFundMe scam sentenced to prison again
MOUNT HOLLY — The woman who admitted to her role in spreading a fake GoFundMe fundraiser about a homeless veteran that raked in over $400,000 has been sentenced to more time behind bars.
On Friday, 32-year-old Katelyn McClure received three years in state prison. The Bordentown woman did not show for her sentencing in Mount Holly court because she is already serving a one-year sentence in a federal prison in Connecticut. Her new sentence will run concurrently.
As part of Friday's sentence, McClure will also never again be able to work as a public employee. She had previously worked for the state Department of Transportation making a salary of $43,000, according to public records.
McClure pleaded in 2019 to second-degree theft by deception for helping her now ex-boyfriend, 43-year-old Mark D'Amico, to concoct the bogus story behind the online fundraiser. D'Amico was sentenced last April to 27 months in federal prison to run concurrently with a five-year term in state prison.
In late 2017, the couple made up a story about a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, giving McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas. Then, they created the GoFundMe called "Paying it Forward" claiming all of the raised money would go to support Bobbitt. The trio garnered national media attention and conducted television interviews praising the public's generosity and goodwill.
But according to prosecutors, McClure never ran out of gas off I-95. The three had actually met outside a Philadelphia casino.
In reality, McClure and D'Amico kept most of the money for themselves. They spent tens of thousands at casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, then spent more on a BMW and other luxury items.
Bobbitt later sued the couple claiming he had received less than $75,000. The lawsuit sparked an investigation that ultimately led to their arrests.
Bobbitt managed to avoid prison by pleading guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge and entering the state Recovery Court program for opioids. He was sentenced to three years probation in October.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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