Millersville Man Sentenced for Posing as A Retired Army Special Forces Colonel
Lied for 12 Years About Special Forces and Terrorism Experience
to Gain Teaching Employment;
Also Fabricated a Story of His Daughter’s Kidnaping and Murder by Sex Traffickers
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced William G. Hillar, age 66, of Millersville, Maryland, today to 21 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud in connection with a scheme to lie about his military experience and academic credentials in order to gain employment for teaching and training. Judge Quarles also ordered Hillar to pay restitution of $171,415 and perform 500 community hours at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries.
The sentence 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.
“William G. Hillar claimed that he had earned praise as a hero, but the truth is that he deserves condemnation as a liar,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “He did not serve in the U.S. Army, did not receive military training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare, and did not lose his daughter to sex traffickers.”
“Mr. Hillar's fraudulent representations 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.
"The Defense Criminal Investigative Service is committed to supporting America's warfighters and protecting the interest of the American taxpayers," said Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for the DCIS Mid-Atlantic Field Office. "The service members that comprise the Department of Defense's elite special warfare units have undergone years of specialized training and sacrifice to be called Special Forces. To misuse their titles for personal gain is unconscionable and discredits those that served and continue to serve the United States of America."
According to Hillar’s plea agreement, from around 1998 to 2010, private and public sector organizations paid Hillar at least $171,415 for teaching, leading workshops, giving speeches and conducting training on counter terrorism, drugs trafficking, human trafficking and related topics. Hillar conducted these activities through a business named “Bill Hillar Training.” According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, most of Hillar’s victims were military, law enforcement or first responder organizations.
In order to secure employment with these organizations, Hillar falsely represented in resumes, biographical statements and on the Internet that: "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." Hillar also represented that he received a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
Hillar never served in the U.S. Army or the Special Forces and never attained the rank of Colonel. Hillar never served in Asia, the Middle East and Central and South America, and did not acquire in those locales training and experiences in counter-terrorism, explosive ordnance, emergency medicine and psychological warfare. Hillar did serve in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve as an enlisted sailor from 1962 to 1970, achieving the rate of Radarman, Petty Officer Third Class. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, the organizations that Hillar purported to train exercise critical public safety and national security functions, and require ongoing training and education in order to respond to new and changing threats. Hillar, who was not qualified, displaced qualified teachers and trainers, thereby putting members of our military, law enforcement and first responders at risk.
Moreover, the government’s sentencing memorandum states that Hillar fabricated a gruesome tale that his own daughter had been kidnaped, forced into sex slavery, sodomized and tortured before being hacked to death with machetes and thrown into the sea. He further claimed that this experience and his life story was the basis for the 2008 film “Taken”. The significant press attention that film generated, in turn, generated free press for Hillar. Hillar admits that he fabricated the story about his daughter, who was alive and well.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service for their work in the investigation, and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Leo Wise, who prosecuted the case.