Here are a couple of names we haven’t seen showing up in the headlines for a while. From a story that began almost six years ago, you may recall Johnny Bobbitt and Katie McClure. Bobbitt was a homeless former Marine living on the streets in Philadelphia in 2017 when he reportedly gave McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas. McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D’Amico started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to get Bobbitt off the streets, eventually raking in $400,000 and garnering national media attention. But the whole thing turned out to be a scam and McClure was eventually arrested and sentenced to four years in a New Jersey state prison in 2019.
You might have assumed that was the end of the story, but the legal system was far from being done with Katie McClure. She faced federal charges in Connecticut, drawing another one-year term. Then, on Friday of last week, she was sentenced again to another three years in Burlington County, New Jersey. McClure was unavailable to attend the sentencing as she was still serving her previous terms. (NY Post)
A New Jersey woman was sentenced to three years in state prison on Friday for her role in a $400,000 GoFundMe scam in which she and her then-boyfriend lied about helping a homeless veteran in Philadelphia.
Katelyn McClure, 32, was not present at her sentencing in Burlington County as she is already serving her one-year federal term in the case in a Connecticut prison, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
Her state sentence will run concurrently and the former New Jersey Department of Transportation worker will be permanently barred from ever working as a public employee in the state.
All of McClure’s sentences are running concurrently, so this latest development probably won’t drive up her total amount of time behind bars all that much. If you think it sounds like the legal system is going out of its way to make an example out of McClure and her boyfriend, I would tend to agree with you. But it’s also very much deserved, at least as far as I’m concerned.
This scheme was really despicable and so were the people involved. And it probably hurt other people if potential donors to legitimate charitable causes became suspicious of more ruses and decided not to donate as a result. I will admit, however, that it was initially a pretty clever ploy. I fell for it when the news first came out and so did John. The story had everything. There was a stranded damsel in distress on the side of a highway. A homeless veteran who had fallen on hard times was willing to go hungry that night just to make sure she got home safely. Who wouldn’t want to reach out and help such a self-sacrificing figure?
And then it all fell apart. The more we learned, the more the story stank to high heaven. All three of the participants had been in on it from the beginning. They had originally only aimed to raise $10,000 and split it up between them. And if the story had remained local and the cash value of the donations were modest, they probably would have gotten away with it. But then they became national celebrities and the value of the donations soared to almost half a million dollars.
At that point, the scammers turned on each other. McClure and D’Amico put $25,000 in an account for Bobbitt but began spending the rest on themselves. A used RV and an SUV they supposedly gifted to Bobbitt were never put in his name and were eventually repossessed. McClure and her boyfriend broke up and started trying to blame each other. And then the arrests and the prison sentences began adding up. D’Amico was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison. (Bobbitt was only sentenced to probation.)
Today, Bobbitt has mostly faded from the headlines after his last conviction and probation sentence. But he does apparently have an Instagram account. The entire affair was an embarrassment and we’re probably better off leaving it in our collective rearview mirror.