06/02/2014 07:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

$100K SCAM ARTIST: This Man Only Just Acts Mentally Disabled

If you meet Gary Thompson on the streets, you might feel sorry because he seems to be physically and mentally disabled.

Once you find out his secret, you're more likely to feel rage.

Thompson is known in Kentucky and Ohio as the "bogus beggar." He spends his days pretending to be a mentally disabled man in a wheelchair named Gary Davis.

Preying on the kindness of strangers, Thompson claims to make $100,000 a year by panhandling.

Some of that money may be made with a side business of selling white pills or rocks, according to WAVE-TV.

Thompson reportedly has a degree in speech pathology and the ability to sound like a mentally challenged person.

Thompson has been caught and exposed many times.

Last year, Thompson even admitted his scam to a reporter at

"I appreciate you guys busting me," Thompson said. "Y'all really good at it, really good. I average about $100,000 a year doing this."

He is able to get away with it, in part because the fines for panhandling are relatively small and because he's really good at the vile game he plays.

In one case, when he was charged with criminal trespassing for refusing to leave his mom's home, Thompson used his fake voice to convince a a judge in Franklin County, Kentucky, he was mentally challenged.

Judge Kathy Mangeot sentenced him to a $100 fine, but called him back into the courtroom a few hours later and threatened him with a larger fine.

"The voice you used with me this morning was a voice that I feel certain you were trying to garner sympathy from this court, by indicating that you maybe had a mental condition that did not permit you to speak clearly," the judge said, according to

Homeless advocates in Kentucky who saw Thompson in action were shocked by his brazenness -- even doing the bogus begging near a police car.

They say people like him are why well-meaning people should give money to organizations that help the homeless rather than to individuals.

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