Woman, homeless man in GoFundMe scam plead guilty

Erika Holt
March 8, 2019

A homeless man charged with engaging in a $400,000 GoFundMe scheme has pleaded guilty in federal court.

The woman, Kate McClure, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Katelyn McClure, 28, a state worker from Florence, copped a plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud while Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 36, the Philadelphia homeless man who McClure claimed had given her his last $20 when her auto ran out of gas in 2017, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Bobbitt acted as a "good Samaritan" and rescued McClure by using his last $20 to buy gasoline for her.

Prosecutors say the feel-good tale that made worldwide headlines in 2017 was predicated on a lie. D'Amico's attorney, Mark Davis, says his client denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged by federal authorities.

News organizations across the country, including this one, reported on the story, helping the campaign go viral and earn more than $400,000 in donations. Instead New Jersey authorities said the three split the money.

McClure said she did not know about Bobbitt's history of substance abuse until a few weeks after she met him, but did know he was homeless.

While all of the money was supposedly going to help Bobbitt, prosecutors said the majority of the donated funds was allegedly spent, very quickly, by D'Amico and McClure on personal expenses including purchasing a BMW, expensive handbags, vacations and other personal items. Prosecutors reportedly began investigating after Bobbitt said he wasn't getting money raised on his behalf.

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"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie", Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina said late previous year. D'Amico has not now been charged with federal crimes.

Bobbitt, who will be sentenced at a later date, could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

McClure was being paid around $43,000 per year for the role she started in 2014, reports NJ.com.

The two still face local charges in Burlington County, New Jersey, along with a third co-defendant - McClure's former boyfriend, Mark D'Amico.

All three still face charges in state court.

McClure, who is out of prison on a $100,000 unsecured bond, is facing federal sentencing of 27 to 33 months in prison, according to the Burlington County Times.

Bobbitt has a scheduled appearance Friday in Drug Court in Mount Holly.

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