Man allegedly pretended to be aboriginal

Aug. 4, 2012 at 4:04 PM

SYDNEY, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- An accused Australian con man convinced his victims he was half-aboriginal and a former member of a secret Army special forces group, prosecutors say.

Wadari Wiriyanjara, also known as Dallas Gwilliam, went on trial this week in Sydney, The (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph reported. Prosecutor Steve Higgins said Wiriyanjara constructed an "elaborate web of lies" that also involved claims he needed money to get away from the Russian Mafia after exposing an Army drug ring.

Wiriyanjara is charged with 30 counts of obtaining money under false pretenses.

In fact, Higgins said, Wiriyanjara was of European descent and the military has no record of his service as either Gwilliam or Wiriyanjara. He allegedly conned three victims of about $1 million, most of it from Melanie Hogan, a film director.

In 2006, Hogan made "Kanyini," a documentary featuring an aboriginal storyteller, Bob Randall. Wiriyanjara told Hogan he was the son of an aboriginal father and German mother and accompanied her on a trip to promote the movie.

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