- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - A California man has been indicted in Illinois on fraud charges after allegedly passing himself off as a decorated Navy SEAL. He used the ruse to convince two charities to pay him $30,000 to secure the release of three employees who’d been kidnapped in Somalia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday a federal grand jury in Rockford indicted 34-year-old William J. Burley of Yucaipa (u-KHI’-pah), California, for wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors say after International Aid Services employees were kidnapped in 2012, Burley convinced Crystal Lake, Illinois-based International Aid Services-USA Inc. and Sweden-based International Aid Services to hire him based the false claims he made about his military expertise. The kidnapped workers remain prisoners.

Burley is in state custody in California, and it wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.

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