Ky. Beggar Brags He Makes $100,000 A Year Faking Mental Disability [Video]

Gary Thompson bogus beggar busted

Gary Thompson had supposedly fallen on hard times, which explains why he took to the streets of downtown Lexington, Ky., begging strangers for money. As he rolled around in his wheelchair, he slurred his words and wrung his hands as he asked passersby for contributions. Plenty of people felt sorry for Thompson, enough to net the man reportedly as much as $100,000 a year. But according to WLEX-TV, much of his act was a ruse.

Thompson apparently does rely on wheelchair, as he has difficulty walking, but his speech isn't slurred and his arms function fully, the NBC affiliate reports. After the Lexington station confronted the beggar, Thompson said he appreciated being caught. Laughing, he told the TV crew: "Yeah, I'm really good at it, really good. I clear about $100,000 a year doing this." Further, Thompson said, "I am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped."

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Plenty of viewers have complained since seeing the TV reports that Thompson's begging is apparently bogus. "It's offensive"; "It's disturbing": "It's just plain sad"; were some of the comments from viewers who say they gave Thompson money, believing that he was indeed mentally disabled.

They include Judy McKinney who says Thompson once wheeled himself out in front her stopped car. "I don't make that much money, but I reached into my pocket, and gave him everything I had -- $6 at the time," WLEX quotes McKinney as saying.

As WLEX notes, however, the part about McKinney being in a motorcycle accident is true. Records show that Thompson's family was awarded $2.4 million in a lawsuit after he was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1993. Reportedly, Thompson said he blew the money and is no longer a millionaire.

That may be why, despite the TV expose and the fact that the story went viral, Thompson apparently has no plans to stop begging. The TV station caught him panhandling again, this time outside of police headquarters. He reacted by staring into the camera and telling his patrons to keep paying him. "Hey I love y'all!" he said. "I'll see you on the street!"

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Thanks for the tips! I can't wait to use them. I need to stay away from people like this.

William |

January 14 2014 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unemployed/unemployable men with/out children have a difficult time getting help in this society, no matter what they have given, including military service or huge charitable donations, prior to disability, be it physical, neurological or psychological. An obscene number of people "fall through the cracks" and they are not all minorities.

I dislike this imaginative begging man, who in his way is working for a living, far less than corporations that rape the environment and commit an endless list of atrocities, up to and including inciting wars for profit. I include among these atrocities our current "death for profit" health care industry, of which I was a part for many years as a Registered Nurse. The greatest culprit is Big Pharma, the ever scheming pharmaceutical industry, which spends FAR more, individually not collectively, on lobbying, advertising, perks to doctors who "push" their products and executive salaries/bonuses than they do on research and development.

There are far greater outrages to be concerned about than one man who does, after all, need a wheel chair; only his speech/neurological impediment is faked. As for charities, your money is far from safe with many of them. Charity scandals are frequently in the news, and with reason. For nearly twenty years I gave yearly to a local Catholic charity with the grand total given being well into the five figure range, which for my situation was very generous but deducted from my paycheck relatively painless.

When I became disabled I was turned down by the VA. I am an Army Fort McClellan Vet. PLEASE see . I was waiting out my disability insurer (they hope you die before they have to pay) had gone through my savings, had a deadbeat ex and 2 sons, no family able/willing to help so became homeless. I looked to the charity I'd given to for so many years for temporary help and while they did provide some assistance, I was vastly under-served based on my NON-illegal status and disability. I would go into more detail here but it's graphic and disgusting and would sound unbelievable.

Many charities are either nonprofits that over pay from the top down, leaving little left for the "target population" or they are biased and/or disorganized, as is the case with Catholic Charities, which in many areas over-serves some populations based on ethnicity and non-legal status. A small minority of people have learned to abuse this flaw gypsy-style defrauding state/federal programs, faking documentation, claiming extra ID's and children, NOT claiming income/husbands, taking advantage of ignorance of language & culture, then moving together from state to state when they're cut off by the charity. It was all explained to me BY A PARTICIPANT! Did you know it's ILLEGAL for mail carriers to report mail related to suspected fraud? When I reported what I knew I was called a racist and kicked out though I paid rent. The grifters kept their FREE HOUSE/AC/cable TV.

March 05 2013 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maverick Wolfe

This guy deserves to be prosecuted for fraud and arrested for more than that.... How about Tax evasion and such... Throw him in prison for the rest of his natural life... either that or sentence him to probation for the rest of his life and community service as well as wearing a sign like they did to the guy in whitefish MT that lied about being a veteran Make him do it on the coldest days of the year only during the holidays and make him wear nothing but the thinnest possible clothing so he can learn what it is truly like to be homeless or at the very least poverty level income.

March 04 2013 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes The IRS was watching

March 04 2013 at 9:09 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Why should this be a big deal? We have gigantic corporations and politicians who are stealing us blind, colluding to destroy the middle class in this country as quickly and efficiently as they can. Like this man, they pretend to be a certain way, when in fact they have hidden agendas (that aren't so hidden actually)

March 02 2013 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


March 02 2013 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He's just an actor playing a part.
If he were in Hollywood and making that much, no one would blink an eye..........

March 02 2013 at 5:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Rather than being so hateful and saying rude things, just thank God you don't need to stoop to that level and be thankful that you are able to help a person in need.

March 02 2013 at 5:05 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to freelinetwo's comment

Nah. I've got a few rude things to say to this louse. What would be better though, is to pay another handicapped man to beat hell out of this guy...and film it for pay- per- view! Monies raised could go to the ad campaign to prevent public ignorance and to create awareness of the waste of street corner donations.

March 06 2013 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I will never give anyone a ******* dime. LyingAssFaggots

March 02 2013 at 4:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BWA's comment

My sentiments exactly. I stopped giving ANYTHING to panhandlers years ago.Next time I see one with a pair of phony crutches standing on a corner, I will the damn things right over his head.

March 02 2013 at 5:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I wonder if the IRS knows about this.

March 02 2013 at 4:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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