Fake POW to spend time behind bars in Australia

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An elderly man will spend Christmas behind bars for lying about being a prisoner of war in order to scam welfare payments.

Arthur "Rex" Crane, 84, posed as a World War II veteran for 22 years before his deceit was finally uncovered in 2009 by a military historian who thought his story didn't add up.

Before his fraud was exposed, however, the former president of the Ex-POW Association of Australia claimed $689,491 in commonwealth war pension and disability payments.

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He was not entitled to $464,409 of that amount.

Crane pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to defrauding the commonwealth and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

He was sentenced on Tuesday to four years' jail, but will be released on a good behaviour bond after just six months.

Judge Marshall Irwin also ordered Crane repay $413,869 which is still outstanding, but said his age meant it was unlikely the full amount would ever be recouped.

The court was told Crane started offending in 1988 as a way of maintaining a friendship he had developed with two ex-POWs....

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