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Fund raises $70,000 for homeless man who returned cash

Glen James (right), who has been living in a homeless shelter for the past 5 years, received a citation from Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis on Monday.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Glen James (right), who has been living in a homeless shelter for the past 5 years, received a citation from Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis on Monday.

The donations keep pouring in for Glen James.

The unassuming homeless man who returned a backpack full of money now has had more than $70,000 raised in his name on a Web crowdfunding site. That’s tens of thousands more than the money he found and turned over to police.

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The gofundme.com account set up by Ethan Whittington has a new goal of $250,000. Whittington said that if that goal is reached, James could buy a home.

Whittington, of Midlothian, Va., said he has been consulting with James on how to spend the donations — with the aim of getting a roof over James’s head, clothes for him to wear, and food for him to eat. Whittington said he hadn’t yet talked to James about the homebuying idea.

The funds exceeded the original goal on the website — $50,000 — at around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Shortly before 2 p.m. today, about $70,000 had been pledged. Whittington said he expected that $85,000 or $90,000 could be pledged by the end of the day.

“I thought it would have taken a month,” said Whittington, 27, who said he was overwhelmed by the support from people across the nation.

Whittington said he has received thousands of e-mails from people as well as companies, offering donations like free dental care, clothing, and computers.

Some are still concerned the fundraiser could be a scam. Whittington asked the public to trust him. “If I could sign it [and guarantee its legitimacy], somehow I would,” he said of the website.

“With all the media attention, I would be a complete idiot to scam you guys,” he told a reporter.

Whittington said he was working with financial advisers and professional fundraisers in order to plan the safest and most efficient way to get James on his feet.

Whittington and James have another phone call planned for Monday to discuss logistics, and Whittington said he was working to move money into James’s bank account next week. He also is planning a trip to Boston.

Whittington said the site was receiving about $5,000 or $6,000 per hour Tuesday, and although it has slowed since, is still going strong. He hopes money will flow in steadily through Friday.

James turned in a bag containing more than $40,000 in cash and traveler’s checks that he found at the South Bay plaza shopping mall in Boston this weekend. Boston police honored him for his honesty on Monday.

Melissa can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson
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