Report: "Tips for Jesus" tipper is former PayPal exec

An anonymous restaurant patron in several cities across the U.S. has left thousands of dollars in tips to servers, accompanied by a stamp that reads "tips for Jesus."

Has the mysterious benefactor behind "Tips for Jesus" finally been outed?

Restaurants around the country have been receiving shockingly large tips to the tune of $5,000, $7,000 and even $10,000. The person giving the tips never gives away his or her identity; instead, the large tip is added to the bill right before the party of diners leaves.

The only clue left behind is the phrase @TipsforJesus written on the signature line of the bill. A "Tips for Jesus" Instagram page publishes photos of the dining checks but doesn't say who is paying the amounts.

Silicon Valley gossip site ValleyWag reported last week that the person behind "Tips for Jesus" is Jack Selby, a former PayPal executive with "more money than the real son of God."

The New York Post also reported Selby's name after interviewing a waiter at Bo's Kitchen in Manhattan. The 25-year-old waiter, who received $1,000 from "Tips for Jesus," confirmed that the tipper was Selby. Selby's party of three, whom the waiter described as "very well-dressed," ordered $111 worth of beer, bourbon, pasta, shrimp and pork chops.

"I was told, 'We tip a hundred times the bill,'" the waiter told The Post.

Selby isn't saying anything about his involvement, and did not respond to an email request for comment. He did share a link to an article about "Tips for Jesus" on his Facebook page last month, ValleyWag reported. And his references to Jesus may be a bizarre attempt at humor. "A tipster told me all the Jesus talk is a joke," writes ValleyWag's Sam Biddle.

So who is this guy? Selby was a senior vice president at PayPal, and made millions when eBay (EBAY) bought the payment service for $1.5 billion in 2002. He later became a managing director at an investment management and hedge fund company -- where he presumably turned his mountains of money into even bigger mountains of money -- and joined another hedge fund in 2010. He created a film production company last year, appropriately named Incognito Pictures, to make movies with budgets of under $10 million.

Selby likely isn't the only person behind "Tips for Jesus." Restaurants in New York and Mexico received large tips from "Tips for Jesus" on the same night last week, leading Eater National to surmise that the whole thing is a group effort. Either that, or Selby has learned how to teleport himself, which frankly wouldn't surprise us at all at this point.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.