By admitting to second-degree theft by deception, Katelyn McClure faces a possible four-year prison sentence
The New Jersey woman who, with her boyfriend and a homeless man, allegedly scammed $400,000 from GoFundMe donors pleaded guilty Monday, according to multiple reports.
Prosecutors allege that McClure, 29, and her then boyfriend Mark D’Amico concocted a plan, along with homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, to spin a tale that Bobbitt had spent his last $20 to pay for gas for McClure after her car broke down on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.
The couple, allegedly moved by Bobbitt’s kindness, solicited thousands of dollars in GoFundMe donations, purportedly intended to help Bobbitt get back on his feet. More than 14,000 people donated a total of $402,706 to the man.
Shortly after the GoFundMe page was set up, McClure allegedly sent a text to a friend, stating: “I had to make something up to make people feel bad,” according to the Philadelphia Tribune.
Last year, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey began investigating the feel-good campaign after Bobbitt sued the couple in August 2018, claiming he only received $75,000.
Bobbitt claimed he was homeless again after the couple took control of the money.
County prosecutor Scott Coffina said at a news conference that the campaign “was predicated on a lie.” The group had actually met at a Philadelphia casino in October 2017 at least a month before the campaign began, he alleged.
All three were charged with allegedly participating in the fraud. Authorities claimed the couple spent the money on lavish trips to Las Vegas and Disneyland, designer handbags and a BMW.
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At the Monday hearing, McClure’s attorney James Gerrow claimed that his client “was really used as Bobbitt was used in the end by D’Amico,” he said, according to the Post. “The truth is D’Amico is the one who kept this going.”
Gerrow could not be reached for comment. D’Amico’s attorney also could not be reached for comment.
As part of her plea, McClure has agreed to pay around $400,000 in restitution, the Post reports.
Last month, she plead guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in federal court.
Bobbitt was sentenced to five years of probation, including inpatient drug treatment. As part of his plea, he also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against the former couple, according to the Miami Herald.
Bobbitt’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
McClure is also expected to testify against D’Amico, the Courier Post reports.