A woman from New Jersey was sentenced last week to a year in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to theft by scamming donors of $400,000 on GoFundMe after fabricating a homeless veteran story.
According to federal prosecutors, Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, fabricated a story about a homeless veteran giving McClure his last $20 so she could purchase gas. The couple started a GoFundMe account to raise money under the title “Pay It Forward,” campaigning for $10,000. Donors were promised that the money would provide living expenses to the homeless man.
However, the campaign went viral and raised $400,000 from 14,000 donors in less than 3 weeks. The Couple spent the money on Casino trips and cars, according to Business Insider.
As it turns out, the homeless man is Johnny Bobbitt. An investigation into the couple sparked after Bobbitt sued the couple, accusing them of not giving the money to him. Bobbitt was subsequently charged in connection with the case as well.
According to the Department of Justice, D'Amico pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to 27 months. The couple are also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution.
Bobbitt pleaded guilty and is awaiting his sentencing hearing.
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