Millersville Man Charged in Fraud Scheme
Allegedly Lied about Special Forces and Terrorism Experience
in order to Gain Teaching Employment
Baltimore, Maryland - William G. Hillar, age 66, of Millersville, Maryland, has been charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to lie about his military experience and academic credentials in order to gain employment for teaching and training. The complaint was filed on January 21, 2011 and unsealed today upon his arrest.
Hillar had an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mildred Methvin in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Magistrate Judge Methvin ordered that Hillar be detained after he was unable to meet the conditions set by the Judge for his release, which include having a third party custodian and a secured $50,000 bond, among other conditions.
The complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office.
“The complaint alleges that William G. Hillar was living a lie and basing his entire career on experience he did not have and credentials that he did not earn,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “He was never a colonel, never served in the U.S. Army, never was deployed to exotic locales and never received training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare while in the armed forces.”
“The information of Mr. Hillar's alleged fraud came to the FBI's attention from concerned citizens, including former members of the Special Forces community. This investigation is an example of the difficulty the public faces trying to verify the accuracy of information on the Internet,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely.
According to the affidavits in support of the complaint and search warrant, Hillar has been teaching, leading workshops, giving speeches and conducting training for public and private sector clients for at least the past 10 years under false pretenses. Hillar allegedly conducted training through a business named “Bill Hillar Training” that lists a residence on Old Orchard Circle in Millersville as its business address. An internet search conducted on November 22, 2010 on a website used by the business revealed that that website was no longer in operation. However, archived web pages were found which allegedly included a biography of Bill Hillar, courses taught, client testimonials, training for public occupations and contact information. All information had previously been posted on Hillar’s web page prior to the web site being taken down. That website allegedly contained a "Bio Info" page that stated "William G. Hillar is a retired Colonel of the U.S. Army Special Forces. He has served in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America, where his diverse training and experiences included tactical counter-terrorism, explosive ordnance, emergency medicine and psychological warfare." It also stated that Hillar "holds a B.A. in Psychology, and M.A. in Education, a Ph.D. in Health Education, and an honorary Doctorate in Intercultural Relations."
The supporting affidavits further allege that a search of military and civilian records for Hillar in November 2010 revealed that Hillar had not served with the U.S. Army, but rather was an enlisted sailor in the U.S. Coast Guard reserves from 1962 to 1970, achieving the rate of Radarman 3. During that time, Hillar was never deployed at the locations stated on his website, nor was Hillar given any Coast Guard training in tactical counter-terrorism, explosive ordnance, emergency medicine and psychological warfare. Hillar attended the University of Oregon from 1970 to 1973, but was not awarded a Ph.D.
The affidavits further allege that most recently, since the spring of 2005, Hillar taught 12 courses/workshops at an institute for international studies in California. One such workshop was titled “Tactical Counter Terrorism.” The institute’s official who hired Hillar allegedly did so based upon Hillar’s purported work experience and academic credentials as falsely stated on the website. The institute paid Hillar by mailing checks totaling $32,300 to Hillar’s home address in Millersville. In November 2010, the institute offered free substitute courses to all students who had taken courses taught by Hillar.
According to the affidavits, evidence indicates Hillar has been paid more than $100,000 in the course of the scheme by a variety of public and private institutions, including law enforcement agencies.
Hillar faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
A complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Leo Wise, who is prosecuting the case.