FACT CHECK: Was A Florida Couple Arrested For Selling Fake ‘Golden Tickets To Heaven’?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims a Florida couple was arrested for selling fake “golden tickets to heaven.”

Verdict: False

There is no credible record of the Florida couple being arrested for such a thing. The photo is a mugshot of a man arrested on Halloween in 2011.

Fact Check:

Facebook posts claiming that a Florida couple was arrested for selling hundreds of people fake “golden tickets to heaven” have circulated online for years. This particular post includes alleged photos of the couple and identifies them as Tito and Amanda Watts.

“I don’t care what the police say,” Tito Watts supposedly said in a police statement. “The tickets are solid gold… And it was Jesus who gave them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of drugs.”

The post further alleges that Florida police “confiscated over $10,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia, and a baby alligator.”

Check Your Fact didn’t find any credible media reports about the Florida couple being arrested. The story appeared in a March 31, 2015 article posted on the website Stuppid.com. The website has previously published fictional articles, including one claiming former President Barack Obama’s image would in 2017 replace that of George Washington on the one dollar bill.

“Stuppid.com reports stupid news we find around the web and from other sources,” the website’s “About” page states. “We aim to publish the stupidest, craziest stuff we can find.”

The Stuppid.com article claims Tito and Amanda Watts were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida. However, a spokesperson for Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told Check Your Fact that the individuals do not appear in its inmate search system. The sheriff’s office also told PolitiFact in 2018 that it found no record of such a case.

The Jacksonville Sun-Times reported on the story in 2015 as fact but later updated its article to note: “This story turned out to be an April Fool’s joke, and unfortunately we fell for it.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Mummified Fairy Remains Found In The English Countryside?)

The supposed photo of Tito Watts can be found on Shutterstock Editorial, where the caption describes it as an “unnamed police mugshot of a person arrested in Halloween make-up 2 Nov 2011.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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