BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) – A woman who admitted to organizing a $400,000 GoFundMe scam entered a guilty plea Monday for a charge of theft by deception. The state recommended Katelyn McClure get a four-year prison sentence, but she could spend just a couple of months behind bars.
McClure is still pointing a finger at her ex-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, for orchestrating the scam but admitted to playing a vital role.
Promising to finally tell the truth about an all-time whopper, McClure explained step-by-step how she and D’Amico made money on a fake story they created about a homeless man they met on the streets of Philadelphia named Johnny Bobbitt.
After doing a publicity tour to promote the lie that Bobbitt gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas, the trio duped thousands of sympathetic GoFundMe donors out of more than $400,000.
McClure agreed to plead guilty for a recommended sentence of four years in prison. Her term would run concurrently with any federal sentence on her wire fraud charge.
McClure plans to apply for an early release program called Intensive Supervision.
The program, her attorney James Gerrow says, would allow her to spend as little as 120 days in prison – perhaps even less.
“I’m hopeful that both in the federal court and here, the judges will have compassion and full understanding of what took place,” Gerrow said.
Last month, McClure pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud.
Bobbitt also pleaded guilty to state and federal charges and was sentenced to five years of probation on Friday.
Both have agreed to testify against the final defendant, D’Amico, who McClure said coerced her through the scam, though McClure admitted to spending the money on trips, clothes and handbags for herself.
“Even though, from her point of the view, the gas story was done to help someone, that it was not appropriate and she understands that society has a concern about that,” said Gerrow.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
McClure will be sentenced on June 3.
D’Amico remains out of jail. He has been processed on the charges of theft by deception and also conspiracy. There’s no update when he’ll be in court again.