Jason Buzi, a real estate investor and developer from Palo Alto, was outed by Inside Edition on Friday by a voice analysis expert. However, the AC360 interview was Buzi's first acknowledgement of his true identity.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) June 10, 2014
For the past three weeks, Buzi and his team have hidden nearly $15,000 in small sums around California cities and tweeted clues about their locations. The campaign grew into a social media phenomenon, with thousands of people participating in the viral scavenger hunt.
Buzi used the AC360 interview as an opportunity to announce some big expansion plans: Hidden Cash will hit cities across the U.S., Europe, and Mexico.
BIG NEWS:Coming to NYC (Manhattan + Brooklyn!), Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and Mexico City all this weekend! Europe soon!Local media?Email!
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) June 10, 2014
"It just kind of exploded," Buzi told Cooper. He attributed Hidden Cash's success not so much to the sum of money he's given out, but rather to "the thrill of the search."
"[It gets people] out of their living room or away from their phone and out there doing things with their friends, kids or families, said Buzi. "I think there's something very powerful about that."
On his personal website, Buzi wrote that he "likes to help those who are less fortunate, and has volunteered locally with refugee families and tutoring in East Palo Alto, and helped to establish libraries in Africa and taught English in Taiwan."
Buzi didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday. But before he revealed his identity, he previously told The Huffington Post that he's been inundated with requests for financial help.
"Hidden Cash is not going to save you, the lottery is not going to save you," Buzi told HuffPost. "Be smart and responsible and research all the ways to make money that are out there."
Buzi told Cooper that Hidden Cash will come to New York, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Mexico City. He will also hide money in London, Paris and Madrid by the first week of July.
"We just want to encourage people to pay it forward," he said.