The researchers said, from left, Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless war veteran, Katelyn McClure, and Mark D ‘ Amico split $400,000 to GoFundMe contributions, and brought the empire — as they had planned, together — including a BMW, designer bags and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere. (Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office)
A New Jersey woman who invented a feel-good story about a homeless man to rescue her from the side of a highway to the scam of 14,000 donors of $400,000 in GoFundMe contributions, was sentenced to four years in captivity, according to reports.
Katelyn McClure pleaded guilty Monday in state Superior Court to second-degree theft by deception under a plea agreement that also called for her to help refund the money.
She had first faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted under the charges that prosecutors initially brought.
McClure, 29, of Bordentown, must also testify against her ex-boyfriend and co-defendant Mark D’amico, who also faces state charges in the scheme. He has denied wrongdoing.
McClure’s plea came after Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless war veteran, was on Friday sentenced to five years conditionally for his role in the scheme. Under his plea agreement, he will also help us to refund the money, according to the officers of justice.
The researchers said the three share the money, and brought the empire — as they had planned, together — including a BMW, designer bags and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere.
JOHNNY BOBBITT, HOMELESS MAN LINKED TO GOFUNDME SCAM, HAS BEEN CAUGHT AFTER SKIPPING THE COURT DATE
McClure faces sentencing on state charges in June.
They also pleaded guilty to a federal count of wire fraud, conspiracy in the scheme, and Bobbitt also pleaded guilty to a federal money laundering charge last month.
No sentencing date has been set for either of the federal taxes.
D ‘ Amico, will not face federal charges. He and McClure were brought in last fall in the state court with theft and conspiracy.
The investigation began last year after Bobbitt called the couple allegedly not from him his share of the money.
The trio fabricated the story that Bobbitt saved McClure from the side of a Philadelphia highway in 2017 to enrich themselves, according to the prosecutors.
The group asked for donations via GoFundMe, ostensibly to help Bobbitt, and garnered a lot of attention with a media offensive that included posing for photos together, revisiting the place where they claimed their first encounter happened, and that on a TV. With already more than 14,000 people contributed.
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The scheme “is designed to draw on the deepest feelings of care, trust of people,” prosecutors said.
GoFundMe has said that the repayment of the donations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.