A Maryland man who lied about his military experience to land speaking and training jobs pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in an agreement that will require him to pay $171,415 in restitution and serve at least 500 hours of community service at the state’s veterans’ cemeteries.
William Hillar, 66, of Millersville, billed himself as a retired U.S. Special Forces colonel who had served in Asia, the Middle East and South America. He said he was trained in tactical counter-terrorism, psychological warfare and emergency medicine. None of that was true, federal prosecutors in Maryland said.
From 1998 to 2010, Hillar earned more than $171,400 giving speeches and offering training to law enforcement officers, graduate students and others in counter-terrorism, human trafficking and drug trafficking, authorities said. On Tuesday he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to wire fraud in connection with the scam.
“William G. Hillar lived a lie and based his teaching career on military experience he did not have and credentials that he did not earn,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. “He was never a colonel, never served in the U.S. Army or the Special Forces, never was deployed to exotic locales and never received training in counter-terrorism and psychological warfare while in the armed forces.”
Hillar’s clients included the FBI’s Command College, Salt Lake City and Chicago divisions, the Illinois State Police and the College of Southern maryland, court papers say.
Hillar also conducted workshops at the California-based Montery Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College in Vermont. After an October 2010 workshop on human trafficking, some Montery Institute students with military experience became suspicious about their instructor’s stories, according to an institute spokesman. The students reported their concerns to school officials, who began looking into Hillar’s credentials.
Hillar is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20.