March 29, 2011
William Hillar, the once popular MIIS instructor who masqueraded as a former special forces officer and explosives expert, and claimed to have spurred a Liam Neeson flick based on his exploits abroad, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and scheming to defraud money under false pretenses.
Hillar collected more than $170,000 in fees for his lectures, workshops and training on human trafficking and counter terrorism, among others—taking MIIS for approximately $32,000 during his time lecturing there.
He claimed the story behind the film Taken, in which the daughter of the character played by Liam Neeson is forced into sex slavery in a human trafficking scheme, was based on his true life story. Hillar also claimed his daughter was murdered by sex traffickers.
There is no record for Hillar ever having special forces training or any other instruction he claimed to have undertaken in the military. There is also no evidence of his personal experience in human trafficking.
The plea agreement 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 lived a lie and based his teaching career on military 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 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 faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He has agreed to pay restitution of $171,415 and perform no less than 500 hours of community service at the Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries. He will be sentenced on July 20.