A woman accused of conspiring with her boyfriend and a homeless man in a GoFundMe scam last year has been suspended from her state job as authorities continue to investigate the alleged scheme.
New York Post reports that a spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Transportation confirmed that 28-year-old Kate McClure has been suspended from her $43,000 per year receptionist job, although it’s unclear whether the suspension is paid or not. McClure, along with former boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, and homeless man Johnny Bobbitt are accused of scamming thousands of people with a fake GoFundMe campaign last year.
“I told Kate this was inevitable once the charges had been made public by the Prosecutor,” McClure’s lawyer, James Gerrow, said. “Unfortunately, it is standard operating procedure for a governmental entity. Yet, it adds to the traumatizing impact this case has had on Kate.”
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As CrimeOnline previously reported, the trio was arrested earlier this month for conspiracy and theft by deception after allegedly raising over $400,000 under false pretenses.
According to investigators, the suspects made up a story about Bobbitt using his last bit of money to buy gas and gas can for McClure. McClure claimed she ran out of gas in a dangerous area off of a Pennsylvania interstate and Bobbitt helped her out, spurring a GoFundMe campaign to reportedly get Bobbitt back on his feet.
The entire story was fake, according to investigators, who said McClure sent text messages to a friend that corroborate the accusations.
“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,” McClure messaged to a friend, according to authorities.
The plan started to unravel when Bobbitt obtained a lawyer and accused the couple of keeping most of the money to themselves. When McClure’s friend heard about it, she encouraged McClure to donate any leftover money.
“You really need to get rid of him and get the public off your back by donating,” the friend said.
“I’ll be keeping the rest of the money, f— you very much,” McClure replied back, according to court documents.
McClure also complained in text messages to a friend that her mother warned her that people who carry out GoFundMe scams can end up getting arrested.
“My mom just called me and said that people go to jail for scamming others out of money. So there’s that … That’s what my own mother thinks of me.”
In another text message, McClure allegedly told D’Amico that she was upset and couldn’t believe they had “less than 10K left” of the $400,000 GoFundMe money, according to ABC6.
Authorities said the couple met Bobbitt at least a month before they conspired and created the fake GoFundMe account. While McClure claimed the first time she met Bobbitt was in November 2017 when he helped her by spending his last $20 to buy her gas, investigators said the couple actually met the homeless man at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.
McClure is now stating D’Amico, who’s now reportedly her ex-boyfriend, used her and set her up. According to McClure’s lawyer, D’Amico and Bobbitt had known each other a while before bringing McClure into the alleged scam.
“She is a wonderful person and the other side of that is that she’s a bit naive,” Gerrow said. “All along Kate had no idea that there had been a conspiracy really between D’Amico and Bobbitt to get money through GoFundMe.”
McClure is now allegedly claiming that it was D’Amico’s idea to make up a story about Bobbitt spending his last $20. Gerrow claimed the only reason McClure went along with the plan was to help out a homeless veteran.
“In reality, Kate thought she was helping a homeless veteran…..And Bobbitt said to D’Amico, ‘look you folks have done a lot for me, I wanna give you $250,000.’”
The alleged scam touched the hearts of over 14,000 people, who donated under the reported false pretenses that the homeless man did indeed help McClure.
While McClure and D’Amico claimed they gave Bobbitt most of the money but stopped when he spent it all on drugs, Bobbitt claimed the couple kept the majority of his money and spent it on lavish vacations, a new car, designer handbags, and gambling.
“It’s my view that Mr. D’Amico suffers a gambling addiction and Mr. Bobbitt suffers a heroin addiction,” Gerrow added.
Authorities said that more than $85,000 was withdrawn from ATMs inside or close to casinos.
All three suspects are scheduled for a court hearing on December 24. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: DAmico, McClure, & Bobbitt/Police Handout]