Most of the time, GoFundMe fundraisers are used for helping those in need; other times, people abuse the kindness of others to use the money for themselves.
Unfortunately, this is a story about one of those scams.
This story revolves around a couple, Katelyn McClure and her ex-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico.
The pair created a fundraiser in 2017 for a homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., who had helped Katelyn with a problem.
Out of Gas
What was the problem?
Back in 2017, Katelyn’s car ran out of gas on I-95 near Philadelphia, and Johnny gave Katelyn his only $20 so she could fill her car up on gas.
Afterward, Katelyn said she repaid him for the gas and would stop by his spot occasionally.
She also gave him a jacket, gloves, other warm clothes, and some extra cash.
The Generosity of Thousands
Then she set up a GoFundMe account. Katelyn’s initial goal for the fundraiser was to raise $10,000 for Johnny to help him find an apartment, a vehicle and four to six months of expenses.
But thanks to the generosity of over 14,000 people, Katelyn surpassed her goal.
A Roof Over His Head
And as a cherry on top, Katelyn showed more of her generosity by taking him shopping over Thanksgiving weekend and putting Johnny up in a hotel - finally a roof over his head!
What a kind and generous person!
Johnny's Life Was Forever Changed
Johnny “couldn't sleep” because he was so thankful for the generosity of so many people on GoFundMe.
Johnny was so humble and said that "his life had been changed" when only $1,700 had been raised.
More People Wanted To Help!
And when the fundraiser made more than $100,000, he asked that it be taken down.
However, Katelyn put it back up because so many people were interested in helping Johnny!
It Was What Now!?
Such a heartwarming story; it could bring a tear to your eye. And it will because it was all A LIE!
In November 2018, all three people were charged with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy.
They Met At A Casino
In fact, Katelyn and Mark knew Johnny because they ran into him several times on their way to the casino.
Katelyn approached and befriended Johnny, and over time, the three of them planned everything out.
A Story of LIES!
That’s right! The three of them made up the entire story to trick people into donating money.
How do we know it’s a lie? Because there were several mistakes along the way.
The first mistake was made by Katelyn McClure. An hour after the GoFundMe went live, McClure texted her friend,
“Okay, so wait, the gas part is completely made up… But the guy isn’t… I had to make something up to make people feel bad… So, shush about the made-up part.”
Greed Was Their Downfall
The next mistake was Katelyn and Mark’s greed.
They had come up with this whole plan and were going to give Johnny a cut of the fundraiser money - but didn’t.
Because he had not seen any of the money yet, Johnny filed a lawsuit against the couple.
The lawsuit claimed the couple mismanaged the donations and used the money for personal luxurious goods.
Look Here Comes The Consequence
Actually, this very public lawsuit was the reason the fundraiser was looked into.
Investigators looked into the fundraiser and found all the incriminating information they needed to arrest the three co-conspirators for theft.
Mark D’Amico, considered the ringleader of the scam, pleaded guilty to mishandling the money from the GoFundMe fundraiser.
Mark was sentenced to 27 months in prison in April 2022 and faces state charges in September 2022.
Katelyn McClure, the face of the scam, also pleaded guilty and is looking at one year in prison and serving three years of supervised release.
She also faces state charges in September 2022.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., the man people wanted to help, faced state charges and was sentenced to probation for five years in 2019.
He also faces sentencing in September 2022 for federal charges against him.