GoFundMe scam: Kate McClure sentenced to 1 year in federal prison

This all started when Kate McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D'Amico started a GoFundMe for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt.

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Friday, July 22, 2022
Woman in $400K GoFundMe scam gets 1 year in federal case
Kate McClure apologized in court, saying, "I had every intention of helping Johnny and I never had any intentions of letting it get as far as it did."

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Kate McClure hid her face from Action News cameras outside federal court in Camden Thursday after her sentencing for her role in the GoFundMe scheme that scammed donations from thousands of people.

She asked the judge for leniency and no prison time, but he sentenced her to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and restitution to pay back her portion of the $401,000 owed to GoFundMe.

It's a lighter sentence than her ex-boyfriend Mark D'Amico received because prosecutors say she cooperated with investigators and agreed to testify against D'Amico if he had gone to trial.

Mark D'Amico was sentenced to 27 months in prison earlier this year.

SEE ALSO: Mark D'Amico, accused ringleader in GoFundMe scam, sentenced to 27 months in federal prison

Mark D'Amico received a 27-month term Friday. He pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

This all began in late 2017 when McClure and her then-boyfriend D'Amico started a GoFundMe for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, claiming Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas.

The made-up story went viral, and 14,000 people donated more than $400,000.

The trio became the center of a Hulu documentary produced by the 6abc investigative team, called "No Good Deed, A Crowdfunding Holiday Heist."

Produced by 6abc Philadelphia and ABC Localish Studios. Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help a homeless veteran. It went viral and raised thousands of dollars. When authorities began to notice, the scam would crumble.

The documentary features interviews with D'Amico, McClure and Bobbitt before the world found out the truth.

The truth began to emerge after Bobbitt sued the couple, accusing them of keeping the money for themselves.

Court documents show almost none of their story was true.

Still, the couple spent large chunks of the money in a matter of months on lavish casino trips and a BMW.

"That breach of trust played heavily into the judge's sentence, and it's very difficult to not appreciate what he was thinking," said defense attorney James Gerrow.

McClure's attorney said she was in an abusive relationship and called D'Amico a "master manipulator."

"She tried to stop it. She tried to say, 'No, we can't do this,'" said Gerrow. "As the judge said, there were texts back and forth where he's making promises. He's not going to do this anymore. This isn't what's happening. So there's manipulation throughout."

McClure apologized in court, saying, "I had every intention of helping Johnny and I never had any intentions of letting it get as far as it did."

Judge Noel Hillman said even though she knew D'Amico was a thief and gambling addict, "she implemented no controls... to allow that money to flow into his hands and onto the casino floor - and she benefited."

Judge Hillman also said, "Even with charitable intent, Ms. McClure, from the beginning, until the end, was a knowing participant."

He called the 14,000 people who donated in this case voiceless, and while GoFundMe refunded all donors, he said this case is "harmful to a society that wants to help people."

McClure and D'Amico are scheduled to be sentenced on state charges on August 5 in Burlington County.

Johnny Bobbitt is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on August 23.