In federal court on Thursday, Katelyn McClure finally saw justice when she was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to make restitution for scamming 14,000 people who donated to a GoFundMe she supposedly set up for a homeless man. McClure will also have to serve three years of supervised release for scamming $400,000 in donations.
The 32-year-old Bordentown, New Jersey resident is also up on state charges and could receive more prison time when she is sentenced next month.
Back in 2017, McClure and her then-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, invented a story about homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., who was supposed to have given McClure $20 when she ran out of gas on a highway in Philadelphia.
State and federal prosecutors said the truth was stranger than fiction as McClure, D’Amico, and Bobbitt actually met near a Philadelphia casino in October 2017 and hatched the plan to scam the money. They spread the story through local and national viral interviews and over 14,000 people were so moved by the story that they donated money, thinking the money was for Bobbitt.
Later, after Bobbitt sued the couple, saying that he never received any money from the GoFundMe, law enforcement began investigating.
The complaint filed by the federal court alleged all of the money raised by the trio was spent by March 2018, most spent by McClure and D’Amico on “a recreational vehicle, a BMW and trips to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.”
McClure’s then-boyfriend, D’Amico, is described as the scammer group’s ringleader. He pled guilty to federal charges and was sentenced in April 2022 to 27 months in prison.
According to AP News, the “homeless veteran” Bobbitt, “was sentenced to five years’ probation on state charges in 2019 and faces sentencing next month on federal charges.”
As more and more people take to GoFundMe to raise money for good causes, the federal and state governments are taking seriously fraudulent cases when they arise. Expect to see more cases like is as people think they can get away with scamming honest Americans.