A New Jersey woman was sentenced to three years in jail for promoting a hoax that raised over $400,000 online.
According to WFAA, 32-year-old Katelyn McClure pled guilty to state theft charges and will serve a one-year federal sentence.
In 2017, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, claimed that homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. had handed McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of petrol on a highway exit ramp.
“Paying It Forward” raised 14,000 dollars on GoFundMe. However, an inquiry discovered that all of the money had been spent by March 2018, including on a recreational vehicle, a BMW, and casino excursions.
D’Amico and McClure were forced to repay GoFundMe and serve five years in jail. Bobbitt received state and federal probation.
WFAA says that Katelyn McClure and Mark D’Amico’s fraudulent scam was a wonderful tale of kindness and charity.
The pair started a GoFundMe campaign called “Paying It Forward” to support homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., who helped McClure when her car ran out of petrol on a motorway exit ramp in Philadelphia.
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In one month, 14,000 donors raised almost $400,000. When Bobbitt accused the couple of not providing him the money, authorities investigated. By March 2018, the cash had been spent on a recreational vehicle, a BMW, and excursions to Las Vegas and New Jersey casinos.
The crowdfunding platform’s largest fraud, McClure and D’Amico’s conduct outraged contributors and the public. Many felt betrayed by the couple’s deception and wondered how they could have been so cruel to use others’ goodwill.
Fox 4 reported that McClure and D’Amico were sentenced to prison and ordered to fully refund GoFundMe. Bobbitt, another schemer, received probation.
The case emphasizes the need to examine internet campaigns and their organizers before donating. Most crowdfunding efforts are legitimate, but you should be aware of the risk of fraud and take precautions. McClure and D’Amico’s actions hurt donors and tarnished crowdfunding.