A fake lieutenant colonel says his deception has cost him dearly.
Bruce Reid, 38, masqueraded as a high-ranking decorated army officer – a far cry from his life as a beneficiary in Porirua.
Police are investigating complaints from nine women who met Reid on dating websites and fell for his promise of marrying them if they supported him financially.
Though there was nothing in the law to say impersonating a soldier was forbidden, police were interviewing the women to see if he had committed a criminal offence.
Reid was sentenced yesterday in Porirua District Court for obtaining a property inspection report by deception last March.
Judge John Walker imposed three months' community detention, 100 hours' community work and ordered reparation of $1209, which included debt collection fees.
Reid was also forced to give up several army uniforms, complete with bravery medals and SAS parachute badges.
In an email to the property inspection company, Reid claimed to be a lieutenant colonel who held the post of deputy director of New Zealand special operation force (intelligence).
He also claimed to be an officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and to have received the Queen's Gallantry Medal, awarded for exemplary acts of bravery.
He followed up the email by wearing full regalia when paying for the inspection report and when his credit card payment was declined he said the army would pay the $875 bill out of his relocation allowance.
The money never eventuated.
Outside court, Reid would not comment on why he started the ruse but said he had "stopped ages ago" and that the uniforms had been confiscated.
When asked if he was sorry he said: "Of course I am. It's cost me my house ... and all sorts of stuff."
He explained that he tried to shun a Wellington High School alumnus award, which included having his picture hung on a wall at the school beside genuine achievers such as dancer Sir John Trimmer. He was lauded along with 63 other alumni at the school's 125th reunion earlier this year for his "achievements" in the Defence Force.
"I told the principal I didn't want to do that thing and she kept pushing and pushing."
The award was revoked earlier this month.
Reid was discharged from the Territorial Services in December 1995.
Porirua RSA president Roger Kingsford said Reid had made a mockery of the men and women who had risked their lives serving their country.
Army spokesman Major John Gordon condemned Reid's behaviour. "It's quite upsetting for people who have these decorations; it really takes away from what they did to achieve these."
Major Gordon said secondhand medals and uniforms were prolific. The Defence Force had no jurisdiction over civilians misusing army uniforms.
- The Dominion Post
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