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UO Adjunct Professor Lied To Students, Subject of Fraud Investigation

University of Oregon Adjunct Professor Bill Hillar is under investigation by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department for fraud after some of his students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies discovered that Hillar had been lying about his exploits as a member of the US Army Special Forces and receiving a doctorate degree from the University of Oregon. Hillar had been a part-time instructor at the Institute, which is an adjunct campus of Middlebury College. He was scheduled to teach a Substance Abuse Prevention Program class this term at the University of Oregon, and during winter term 2010 taught a SAPP class in International Drug Trafficking that had 241 enrolled students. He also was one of the keynote speakers at last year’s Slavery Still Exists conference. He was scheduled to give a lecture at the University of Portland this month, but failed to show up, and all contact attempts have been fruitless. His website has since been taken down.

From the LA Times:

Bill Hillar, a part-time instructor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, told students enrolled in his workshops on terrorism and human trafficking about what he described as his own dangerous exploits as a former colonel in the U.S. Army’s Special Forces.

He also boasted, they recalled, that the 2008 action movie “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson, was based on his life and his daughter’s kidnapping by men who wanted to enslave her.

Such claims, along with incidents in which Hillar seemed to borrow material from other people’s books, raised suspicions among some of his graduate students about Hillar’s resume and background. “He didn’t seem to act like a veteran or someone who served so highly in the military,” recalled Brian Hubbs, a graduate student and Marine veteran.

So this fall, Hubbs and several other veterans attending the graduate institute began investigating Hillar’s resume. And the school now says their suspicions had merit.

Monterey Institute officials said Hillar, who has taught workshops twice yearly at the school since 2005, had claimed to hold a doctorate from the University of Oregon, but a check showed that he had only attended classes there. The institute, which is well-regarded for its foreign language and international relations courses, has been unable to confirm the instructor’s claims of military rank and service, officials said.

Hillar, who has also been an expert speaker on security and leadership at other colleges and police agencies across the country, did not respond to messages left Monday at the phone number and e-mail address listed on his class syllabus.

An apology from the Monterey Institute of International Studies can be found here. It seems Hillar fooled a lot of people, including various law enforcement agencies.

Also from the LA Times, on the investigation:

Deputy Keith Bickford, who heads the human trafficking unit of the Multnomah sheriff’s agency and is helping in the investigation, said he had heard Hillar speak twice at conferences and emotionally recount the supposed kidnapping and murder of his daughter.

“The story that he told was very sad and he did a very good job in making everybody feel horrible,” said Bickford, who did not initially suspect Hillar’s credentials. “If he is a fraud, he’s hurt a lot of people and taken advantage of a horrible, horrible crime,” he said, referring to trafficking.

Hillar could not be reached for comment at the phone number and e-mail address he listed on a syllabus for his Monterey Institute class.

Retired Green Beret Jeff Hinton started a website,, in order for Special Forces members to discuss their lives. Hillar has been listed on the website as a fraud for over a year. From KION News:

Hillar has been posted as a fraud for over a year on the website Jeff Hinton started, professional A place for special forces to network with each other. It was there that Brian Hubbs and the other students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies found more evidence to back up their research on Hillar.

A client list from Hillar’s now defunct website shows a lot of people believed his stories for a long time, “It’s because he’s never run across a real Green Beret… They read just enough or watch just enough movies to pass themselves off,” said Hinton.

This story is still unfolding. Updates will be added as they are received. If you have any info on Hillar, or have taken a class with him, please email us at

  1. nitpick says:

    To be fair, I attended the UP conference. He didn’t exactly “fail to show up.” He had been hospitalized the week prior and had emergency surgery.

    But this is all indeed appalling.

  2. Joe Rouse says:

    Yo Liz I really like what your doing here.

  3. Ellie Macallan says:

    How the fuck does a university hire someone with a false resume? Seriously. Is it that hard to pick up the phone and ask if someone has a ph.D?

  4. Adam Hurlburt says:

    Nail in the coffin — fucking with Liam Neeson.

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