Americans opened their wallets to the man when he purportedly took the donation and distributed the food to strangers. The homeless man, who is identified as “Thomas” in the video, was said to be given a hot Christmas Eve dinner, a warm hotel room and a makeover.
Meanwhile, donations poured in to help him get back on his feet. A fundraising campaign has collected more than $135,000. The YouTube video went viral, with more than 30 million hits.
The New York Daily News reported, “Viewers moved by the video to donate more than $130,000 to its ‘homeless’ star were blindsided upon learning he’s not down on his luck, but stands to inherit $150,000 from his parents’ estate.”
A man named Kevin Nickel told the Post that the vagrant is actually his brother, Kenny.
“This is a scam,” he said.
Nickel told CBS Los Angeles, “He’s sitting on money. He’s sitting on an estate.