Wednesday, February 8, 2023

United States: Woman imprisoned for false extortion for poor

A New Jersey woman who pleaded guilty to helping her boyfriend spread a feel-good story about a destitute war veteran who raised more than $400,000 in online donations has been sentenced to three years in prison for state robbery. Has been sentenced to jail.

Burlington County prosecutors said Caitlin McClure, 32, was not present in the Mount Holly courtroom on Friday because she is serving a one-year federal prison sentence related to the case. She will serve her sentence in state prison concurrently and the former Department of Transportation employee will not be allowed to hold public office in New Jersey again.

Prosecutors detailed that in November 2017, McClure and her then-boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, came up with the Good Samaritan story, alleging that Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless war veteran, had given McClure his last $20, while his car was running. Out of gas on an Interstate off-ramp in Philadelphia.

According to prosecutors, the three gave newspaper and television interviews and solicited donations to help Bobbitt through a GoFundMe campaign, which they called “paying it forward”. Prosecutors said the campaign raised more than $400,000 from about 14,000 donors in about a month and was the largest fraud ever committed through that crowdsourced platform at the time.

Authorities launched an investigation after Bobbitt filed a lawsuit against the couple alleging nonpayment of money. Investigators eventually determined that all of the money had been spent in March 2018, with McClure and D’Amico spending large sums of money on an RV, a BMW car and trips to casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey.

D’Amico, 43, pleaded guilty in December 2019 and was sentenced to five years in state prison, a sentence that is to be served concurrently with a previous federal sentence. The GoFundMe requires both her and McClure to fully reimburse them. Bobbitt was sentenced to probation on the federal and state charges.

Nation World News Desk
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