Back in November, there was a viral story about a New York City cop who gave a barefoot homeless man in Times Square a pair of shoes. Every media outlet in the country picked up the story and today we find out that homeless man is nothing more than a fraud who poses as a homeless person for money.

It all went down in November when Officer Larry DePrimo noticed a barefoot homeless man and decided to do something about that. DePrimo used $75 of his own money to buy shoes for the man who was later identified as Jeffrey Hillman. The photo that was taken at the scene hit 618,000 likes on Facebook and DePrimo became a reluctant hero of sorts.

Two weeks after the photo, reporters found Hillman again to see how he was doing. Hillman said he felt like he was being exploited because he didn't get a plug nickle from all of the media attention, which took the reporters by surprise.

Last Sunday, two reporters from the New York Post followed Hillman after he left Time Square one day. They noticed he was counting a huge wad of cash as he stopped at an apartment...HIS APARTMENT! Hillman admitted to the reporters that he is not homeless at all, he's just a con man who makes about $250 a day pretending to be homeless. He does it 200 days a year, which works out to about $50,000 a free! Hillman also owns about 30 pairs of shoes and boots.

I am very sympathetic to the plight of the homeless, but I have to say, I am equally skeptical of some of these people who sit by the side of the road right here in Evansville. Two years ago, a friend of mine bought a bag of cheeseburgers for a guy off Green River Road holding a sign saying he would work for food. The man refused the burgers and told my friend he would rather have cash...really? I encountered a guy myself who was telling me how he had nothing and just needed a few bucks - then his cell phone rang, and he answered it.

I know homelessness is a big problem here in Evansville and a lot of other places for that matter, but you hear stories like this all the time and that makes it so tough for people who really do need help, and there are a lot of them.

Guys like Jeffrey Hillman, who take full advantage of the goodness in people should be prosecuted. Ironically, Hillman who claimed to feel exploited, is accomplishing nothing more than exploiting those people who need the help the most...very sad.

[New York Post]