Woman sentenced to a year in prison for spending $400,000 she raised “for a homeless veteran” in the US

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File photo: Kate McClure, 29, charged with theft by deception in the $400,00 GoFundMe scam, with her lawyer Jim Gerrow Jr, in State Superior Court, Burlington County Courthouse in 2019 (The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A New Jersey resident who admitted her role in a $400,000 GoFundMe scam has been sentenced to a year in prison.

On Thursday, the federal court ordered Kateyln McClure to pay restitution and be subject to three years of supervised release. Katelyn McClure, who is also scheduled to be sentenced in a state trial next month, could face more prison time.

Katelyn McClure, 32, and her then-boyfriend Mark D’Amico set up a GoFundMe page in 2017 to help Johnny Bobbitt Jr., who was posing as a homeless veteran.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” was created just in time for the holidays to help rehabilitate McClure, a homeless man who had spent his last $20 to help a stranger, McClure, who had run out of gas and was stranded on a highway in Philadelphia.

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“He saw me pulling over and knew something was wrong,” McClure wrote on the fundraiser’s page at the time:

“He told me to get in the car and lock the doors.”

State and federal prosecutors say no part of that story is true. D’Amico and McClure, who met Bobbitt in October 2017, near a casino, wanted to help him. But they made up this story to garner sympathy.

<p>Johnny Bobbitt Jr (left), Mark D'Amico and his then girlfriend Katelyn McClure pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia</p>
Johnny Bobbitt Jr (left), Mark D’Amico and his then girlfriend Katelyn McClure pose at a Citgo station in Philadelphia (AP)

The fundraiser aimed to raise $10,000 to get Bobbitt off the streets. The story made headlines in both local and national media at the time, and after 14,000 donors volunteered to help, donations quickly surpassed the initial goal of $10,000, reaching $400,000.

After Bobbitt said he did not receive any money from the couple, the situation quickly drew the suspicion of authorities and led law enforcement to investigate whether the money had been embezzled.

According to the allegations in the federal criminal complaint, McClure and D’Amico spent all of the money raised through GoFundMe through March 2018, with most of the money going toward an RV, a BMW, and trips to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.

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D’Amico was identified as the ringleader of the group. After pleading guilty to federal charges, D’Amico was sentenced in April to 27 months in prison. D’Amico, who was ordered to pay restitution, will be sentenced in a separate case in August.

Bobbitt was also sentenced to five years’ probation in 2019 as a result of the state case. Bobbitt’s sentence is expected to be announced in the federal case next month.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world


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