Gary Thompson has a mental disability and is confined to a wheelchair — at least that’s what he wants you to believe when he’s begging for money. In reality, Thompson is a fraud, raking in $60,000-$100,000 per year (so he says) by panhandling in Lexington.
The friendly, recognizable face from some of Lexington’s most popular shopping centers was exposed this week for his money-making scam, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. Thompson told LEX 18’s Kristen Pflum he’s “the best” at what he does and plans to continue doing it as long as he’s making money.
The maximum penalty for begging is only ten days in jail, so the only way to really stop Thompson from profiting off the generous people who believe his story is to get the real story out there. Even then, he’ll likely just move on to the next city and prey on the next bunch of oblivious good Samaritans.