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Valley man finds way to have spent money come back

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Valley man has found a way to spend money and have it come right back to him.

"I normally don't look at any of the change I receive," said Amy Perez.

Perez couldn't help but notice something written on the back of a dollar bill, she was handed at a Valley sandwich shop.

"It was hand written and in bright red, so of course it stuck out."

The message said, "Please return this bill to me."

It had the name Gary, a Phoenix address, and at the bottom the words, "I am very poor."

Gary, whose last name is being withheld, is a 60-year-old, legally blind retiree who's come up with a pretty creative way to make his cash come back.

"I didn't think anybody would send any back, but they did and so the more people kept sending the more it encouraged me to send more out there," Gary said.

Gary tells us he came up with the idea to write his "money back message" in 2003 when he had some health problems and took some time off from work.

Since then, every time he goes to the market, gas station or convenience store, he pays with dollar bills that one day make their way right back into his wallet.

"People are more likely to send one dollar back than they would 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100."

Gary averages about $2 a day and every so often someone will throw in a cash bonus. Last month, he made $60 and the month before $94.

The unusual entrepreneur keeps a log book of every dollar he gets back in the mail.

And it all adds up to thousands of dollars over the years coming in from all over the world, including the Netherlands, Australia, and Alaska, according to Gary.

"One person wrote back and said, 'this is ingenious, why didn't I think of that?'"

CBS 5 asked Gary if he felt bad taking strangers money.

"The only time I feel guilty is when somebody takes me seriously."

Defacing currency is only illegal if it makes the bill unusable or is intended for fraud so technically Gary is not breaking the law.

Gary insists he's not getting rich but it helps pay the bills and gives a lot of people a good laugh.

"It's absolutely amazing, I'm really surprised so many have sent so many bucks back to me."

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