The New Jersey woman who helped concoct a fake story about helping a homeless veteran that was the catalyst for $400,000 in GoFundMe donations was sentenced in federal court to one year in prison Thursday.
Katelyn McClure, 32, was also ordered to pay restitution and serve three years of supervised release for the 2018 scheme that unraveled once she and her then-boyfriend were sued by the homeless man.
McClure’s sentencing caps off the wild tale that began when she shared a heartwarming story about a down-on-his-luck veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, handing her his last $20 to fill up her tank after she ran out of gas in the middle of the night.
She and her then-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the kind-hearted stranger and about 14,000 people contributed to the cause in the following weeks.
But the account was a hoax. The couple met Bobbitt about a month before she claimed he handed over his last Jackson, while he was panhandling by an underpass. McClure fabricated the story to compel donors to “pay it forward.”
The trio enjoyed the fruits of their fraud until Bobbitt sued McClure and D’Amico, over claims they were blowing the stash on luxury items, a recreational vehicle, a BMW and trips to casinos. Bobbitt claimed they only shared about $75,000 with him.
D’Amico accepted a plea deal in Burlington County in 2019 and agreed to a five-year jail sentence. Bobbit was ordered to enter a drug rehab program. Like McClure, both are scheduled for sentencing on separate state charges next month.
McClure pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception as part of the agreement in New Jersey Superior Court in 2019.
She is also scheduled to be sentenced on state charges next month, which could result in more jail time.
With Post Wires
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