Update: New Jersey woman Katelyn McClure has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for her role in a 2017 GoFundMe scam. McClure, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution, the Department of Justice says. The 32-year-old could face more prison time when she is sentenced on state charges next month. Prosecutors say McClure and then-boyfriend Mark D'Amico made up a story about homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt giving her his last $20 when she ran out of gas, but the scheme fell apart when Bobbitt sued for some of the money 14,000 people donated after the story went viral, the AP reports. In April, D'Amico was sentenced to 27 months on federal charges. The DoJ says Bobbitt, who was sentenced to probation on state charges, is awaiting sentencing on a federal charge. Our story from April 15, 2019 follows:
A New Jersey woman who hoodwinked GoFundMe donors with a fake story about helping a homeless vet faces up to four years in state prison after pleading guilty for a second time. Katelyn McClure, who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud last month, pleaded guilty in a New Jersey court Monday to a charge of second-degree theft by deception, NJ.com reports. McClure, 29, told Burlington Superior Court that she and then-boyfriend Mark D'Amico concocted a story about homeless man Johnny Bobbitt giving her his last $20 to buy gas, CBS reports. They received more than $400,000 on GoFundMe after the story went viral. D'Amico faces state charges of conspiracy and theft by deception over $75,000 and both McClure and Bobbitt are expected to testify against him later this year.
The state recommended she serve four years in prison, though her lawyer, James Gerrow, told reporters he hopes judges will show compassion when she is sentenced in June. He said D'Amico had orchestrated the scam and her motive was to help Bobbitt, "not to enrich herself or anybody else," CNN reports. She will also be sentenced in federal court in June, and the sentences will run concurrently. Bobbitt, 36, avoided prison time at a hearing in a state drug court Friday. He received a five-year special sentence that will require him to submit to drug treatment and testing and eventually get a job. He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge last month, and has yet to be sentenced. (The scheme fell apart after Bobbitt accused McClure and D'Amico of withholding money.)