U.S.

New Jersey woman Caitlin McClure sentenced to 3 years for role in $400,000 GoFundMe scam


A New Jersey woman was sentenced to three years in state prison Friday for her part in a $400,000 GoFundMe scam in which she and her then-boyfriend lied about helping a homeless veteran in Philadelphia.

Caitlin McClure, 32, did not attend her sentencing in Burlington County because she is already serving a one-year federal sentence in the case in a Connecticut prison. According to the Burlington County District Attorney’s Office.

Her state sentence will run concurrently, and the former New Jersey Department of Transportation employee will be permanently barred from working as a state employee.

In 2017, McClure and her then-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud after inventing heartwarming but fake story claiming that a homeless vet, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., had just spent his last $20 to help McClure fill up her gas tank while she was stranded on I-95 in Philadelphia.

McClure during a 2019 court appearance where she pleaded guilty to the state charge.
AP

The two started a GoFundMe campaign titled “Paying it Forward,” which donors said was supposed to get Bobbitt off the streets and back into a home.

The story quickly gained traction as McClure and D’Amico did interviews with local and national media. In less than a month, they defrauded more than 14,000 donors of $400,000.

New Jersey woman Caitlin McClure sentenced to 3 years for role in 0,000 GoFundMe scam
A photo of McClure, Mark D’Amico and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. is shown during a 2018 news conference about the hoax.
AP

The funds were transferred from GoFundMe to the couple’s personal accounts. The two blew most of the money over the next three months on personal expenses.

The couple told Bobbitt about the fake story they had made up and the money, which he had not previously known about. In December 2017, officials say D’Amico opened a bank account for Bobbitt and the two deposited $25,000 into the account.

D’Amico, 43, pleaded guilty in December 2019 and was sentenced to five years in state prison, a term that also runs concurrently with an earlier federal term. Both he and McClure were ordered to make full restitution to the GoFundMe.

Bobbitt was sentenced to federal and state probation.

With postal wires


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