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William G. Hillar of Millersville said he is an Army Special Forces retired colonel who's traveled the world fighting terrorism and advising foreign military organizations. He claims to have a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's in education and a doctorate in health education.

And he frequently speaks out against human trafficking, claiming in marketing materials that his only daughter was kidnapped, forced into the sex industry and killed — a story that became the basis, he has said, for the 2008 film "Taken," starring Liam Neeson.

But authorities say they can find no evidence of a military background, other than a relatively tame stint with the Coast Guard in the 1960s, according to an FBI affidavit filed in Maryland U.S. District Court, reports The Sun's Tricia Bishop. The University of Oregon says it never awarded him a post-secondary degree, either, and others question the story about his daughter.

"This is someone that we still really don't know who he is," Maryland Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise said during Hillar's initial appearance in court Tuesday afternoon.

The federal case is the second one filed this month claiming that a Maryland man has lied about military credentials. On Jan. 13, a separate criminal complaint was filed against 25-year-old Joseph Lawler for falsely claiming to have earned a U.S. military medal. Lawler is scheduled to appear in Greenbelt U.S. District Court next month.

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