By Allan Lengel
Who the heck is William G. Hillar?
Well, if you read his online bio you’d see that he had some darn impressive credentials in the military, had a Ph.d and he’s been raking in cash teaching, conducting workshops and giving speeches, and that he received training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare while in the armed forces.
Problem is, federal authorities say, he’s a fraud. His credentials were totally bogus.
On Tuesday, Hillar, 66, of Millersville, Md., was sentenced in Baltimore federal court to 1 year and 9 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for lying about his military experience and academic credentials in order to gain employment for teaching and training. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $171,415 and perform 500 community hours at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that he duped government agencies including the FBI’s Command College, which paid him $17,369 from 2000 to 2010, according to court documents.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Authorities alleged that Hillar, for at least the past 10 years, has been teaching, leading workshops, giving speeches and conducting training for public and private sector clients under false pretenses.
A website that has been taken down contained a “Bio Info” page that stated “William G. Hillar is a retired Colonel of the U.S. Army Special Forces and had served in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America, and his training included tactical counter-terrorism, explosive ordnance, emergency medicine and psychological warfare.
It also said 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, authorities said.
But a court affidavits states that a search of military and civilian records for Hillar in November 2010 showed he had not served with the U.S. Army, and instead, was an enlisted sailor in the U.S. Coast Guard reserves from 1962 to 1970.
Authorities alleged that he was never deployed at the locations stated on his website, nor was he given any Coast Guard training in tactical counter-terrorism, explosive ordnance, emergency medicine and psychological warfare.
He attended the University of Oregon from 1970 to 1973, but he did not earn a Ph.D, authorities said.
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 claimed that this experience and his life story was the basis for the 2008 film “Taken”. Authorities said the press attention from the film generated free press for Hillar.
Hillar admitted that he fabricated the story about his daughter, who was alive and well, authorities said.