MILWAUKEE – A jab at the woes of the nation's banks has been named the top tall tale of 2009.

The Burlington Liars Club bestowed its highest award Wednesday for this line: "I just realized how bad the economy really is. I recently bought a new toaster oven and as a complimentary gift, I was given a bank."

The quip earned Larry Legro of Sun Prairie, Wis., the dubious — but serious — distinction of being the year's World Champion Liar.

"I was ecstatic," said Legro, 58, a state health inspector. "I told people all year I was planning to win this contest."

Legro told The Associated Press he had been submitting entries for four to five years, even if his wife didn't share his enthusiasm.

"When I told her I won I could see her roll eyes like, 'Why do you want to do this?'" he said. "Because it's there. Somebody's got to do it."