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Woman Sentenced for $300K GoFundMe Scam

National

Katelyn McClure | Image by Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

A New Jersey woman received a three-year state prison sentence for stealing $400,000 in online donations meant for a homeless veteran in the largest GoFundMe scam reported to date.

Katelyn McClure, 32, is currently serving a 12-month and one-day sentence in federal prison as part of her role in the scheme. Her state sentence will run concurrently with her federal prison time.

McClure’s legal troubles began in 2017 when her car ran out of gas on the exit ramp of a Philadelphia interstate. A homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., gave McClure his last $20 to fill her tank with gas.

After the show of generosity from Bobbitt, both McClure and Mark D’Amico, McClure’s former boyfriend, created a GoFundMe page titled “Paying it Forward.” To raise awareness, they conducted multiple television and newspaper interviews nationwide with the promise to give all the funds to Bobbitt.

“[Bobbitt] is very interested in finding a job,” McClure wrote on the GoFundMe page in 2017, “and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal.”

Together, McClure and D’Amico, 43, raised over $400,000 from 14,000 donors. However, Bobbitt was only given a fraction of the funds — $75,000. In 2018, Bobbitt sued McClure and D’Amico for the funds he was promised.

When McClure was asked in 2018 by the Philadelphia Inquirer why she had not disbursed the charity funds to Bobbitt, she said that Bobbit is “a drug addict. That’s like me handing him a loaded gun.”

As part of her punishment, McClure, a former New Jersey Department of Transportation worker, is permanently barred from working in the New Jersey public sector. McClure and D’Amico were also ordered to pay all promised funds to Bobbitt.

In July, D’Amico was sentenced to five years in state prison which will run concurrently with his 27-month federal sentence.

GoFundMe estimates that less than 0.1% of all charities are fraudulent.

As Dallas-Fort Worth struggles in the face of an ongoing crime wave and apathetic political leadership, more and more criminal offenses may look like McClure’s, as many kinds of internet scams are steadily on the rise.

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Arfeen Siddiqui
Arfeen Siddiqui
27 days ago

Addie, please call me or email me for another bigger than this at $30,000 a month scam.