William Hillar's impressive resume landed him plenty of speaking engagements. The Maryland man 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.
It was all a lie, federal prosecutors in Maryland say.
Hillar, 66, of Millersville, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore with mail fraud. According to federal officials, Hillar has earned more than $100,000 giving speeches and offering training to law enforcement officers and graduate students among others.
"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," Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for Maryland, said in a statement. "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."
Hillar's clients include the FBI's Command College, Salt Lake City and Chicago divisions, the Illinois State Police and the College of Southern Maryland, court papers say.
Since 2005, Hillar also has conducted workshops twice each year at the California-based Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College in Vermont.
But after an October workshop on human trafficking, some Monterey Institute students with military experience became suspicious about their instructor's stories, according to institute spokesman Jason Warburg. The students reported their concerns to school officials, and an investigation was launched.
FBI Special Agent David A. Rodski wrote in a criminal complaint that a search of Army records showed no sign that Hillar had served. Hillar was in the Coast Guard from 1962 to 1970, authorities said, but was never deployed to Asia, the Middle East or Central and South America.