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Phony SF Colonel Takes Guilty Plea

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  • Phony SF Colonel Takes Guilty Plea

    A Maryland man who passed himself off to university employers as a former Green Beret and expert in international ***-trafficking and counterterrorism pleaded guilty March 30 to wire fraud.

    William G. Hillar, 66, admitted in a plea deal worked out with federal prosecutors in Baltimore that an email he sent to the University of Oregon to apply for work included fraudulent information about his military background and experience.

    Hillar could get up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced on July 20, the FBI said in a statement. Under the terms of the plea agreement he will pay restitution of $171,415 and perform at least 500 hours of community service at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries.

    Hillar was arrested at his Maryland home on Jan. 25. The Justice Department says that the former Coast Guard enlisted man pretended for about 12 years to be a retired Army colonel with a Special Forces background. Part of his faux biography included a claim that his daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers in Asia and that he spent six months in a futile effort to rescue her.

    Hillar's story reportedly was the basis of a 2008 movie, "Taken," starring Liam Neeson.

    The amount of restitution equals the money that he earned from the teaching jobs and speaking engagements he made based on his fraudulent bio.

    According to the Justice Department, one of the earliest victims of Hillar's fraud was the FBI's Salt Lake City, Utah, division, which paid him just over $1,000 to speak in April 1998. He also took the bureau's Chicago division for about $1,000 in 2002, and between 2000 and 2010 earned $17,369 from the FBI Command College.

    Hillar also earned money lecturing and conducting workshops for the Army; the Drug Enforcement Agency; the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs; the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and various other state and federal agencies.

    But his biggest takes were from the University of Oregon, where he earned $33,000 to teach his courses on international crime from 2002 to 2010, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies. MIIS paid him a total of $32,500 from 2005 to 2010.

    At Monterey, students who were veterans began questioning Hillar's credibility, according to Jeff "J.D." Hinton, a retired Special Forces master sergeant who began looking into Hillar's background well over a year ago. Hinton had pulled together information from his own Special Forces connections and through Freedom of Information Act requests showing Hillar to be a fraud.

    He began publicizing the holes in Hillar's resume his website,, last October.

    Army Special Forces and the other elite units of the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force constitute a small world within the military. People pretending to be a Green Beret, SEAL, Marine Recon or Air Force Special Operations Airman cannot sustain the fraud very long once someone begins asking questions, Hinton said.

    "I'm happy with the outcome" of the case against Hillar, Hinton said. "I'm very impressed how quickly the FBI worked this case. I hope this serves as an example to all those that would employ stolen valor to deceive the public. We are watching and we will eventually find and expose you."

  • #2
    Re: Phony SF Colonel Takes Guilty Plea


    WILLIAM G HILLAR has been released. Must have been released early. Maybe he has changed his evil ways, but I doubt it.