AJ Dicken found out to be a fraud after 'securing half-billion dollar security contract'

By Staff Writer 01/04/2014 00:25:00

AJ Dicken found out to be a fraud after 'securing half-billion dollar security contract'

  • A.J. Dicken made massive claims about his completely fictitious military background, saying he was a Navy SEAL and ex-CIA
  • Was actually a Nevada-based bartender with a criminal record
  • Launched a military-style training camp and later a security company that won a contract from a group associated with the U.N.
  • After his employees began asking questions, he went into hiding

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 19:14 EST, 3 January 2014 | UPDATED: 19:25 EST, 3 January 2014

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A man claiming to be one of the most decorated Navy SEALs in military history has been rooted out as a fraud after swindling investors for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A.J. Dicken went all the way while weaving fictitious connections to the elite army force, claiming that he was the one who fired the kill shot during the Osama bin Laden raid.

The al Qaeda leader wasn't the only international warlord that he brought down either, he said, as he also told confidantes and would-be employees that he was responsible for killing Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Facing the facts: A.J. Dicken, 57, is a former bartender with a criminal record who pretended to be a Navy SEAL with numerous awards and major declarations to his name

Facing the facts: A.J. Dicken, 57, is a former bartender with a criminal record who pretended to be a Navy SEAL with numerous awards and major declarations to his name

In the know: True Navy SEALs had been trying to put an end to Dicken's lies but it was too late for a number of investors who helped him launch a security company that took hundreds of thousands of dollars to run

In the know: True Navy SEALs had been trying to put an end to Dicken's lies but it was too late for a number of investors who helped him launch a security company that took hundreds of thousands of dollars to run

'He wouldn't tell these outrageous stories just right off the bat,' Carol Roberts told ABC's 20/20 about Dicken.

She met him at a military-style training camp that he launched in Carson City, Nevada where she met him.

'He would drop little bits of things that are plausible. And he would tailor that plausibility story to each person, knowing what they knew,' she said.

In fact, Dicken had no military history and was a 57-year-old former bartender with a criminal record.

His ruse was not just intended to win him some enamored fans but also some serious cash.

After launching his training camp, he got the backing of two doctors who were happy to invest in his up-and-coming defense company that he called Global Resources and Logistics. The company went on to win a contract from a group affiliated with the United Nations that was valued at an alleged half-billion dollars.

Making a name: Dicken first launched a military-style training camp in Nevada using his alleged 'expertise' from his fake career in the SEALs and the CIA

Making a name: Dicken first launched a military-style training camp in Nevada using his alleged 'expertise' from his fake career in the SEALs and the CIA

That meant a big take-home profit for all involved, including the two doctors who invested $850,000 in the company to get it up and running.

Dicken asked Ms Roberts to work with him and she agreed to help launch the company and go on their first contracted mission to Burundi after seeing his falsified documents.

He had discharge papers- that he printed off the internet- as well as two fraudulent Medals of Honor and a fake email of praise from Col. Oliver North, the former United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel best known for his connection to the Iran Contra scandal.

She only began to suspect that something was awry when they arrived in Burundi. On their second night, the power in the hotel went out and Dicken unlike that of an experienced military commander.

'He freaked out, picked up his phone... runs into the other room talking to the CIA to have them reposition his satellite so he can make sure that the rebels aren't coming to get him. He says, "alpha, bravo, niner, niner, six, two, the fishing is good in Catalina,"' she told 20/20.

Trouble brewing: The company that he launched- with the help of $850,000 from investors- took up a contract in Burundi and his employees said his erratic behavior while there sparked their doubts

Trouble brewing: The company that he launched- with the help of $850,000 from investors- took up a contract in Burundi and his employees said his erratic behavior while there sparked their doubts

Digging: It was then that they looked him up online and found this video of actual Navy SEAL Don Shipley who took to the web to vent about all of the lies that Dicken had been spewing

Digging: It was then that they looked him up online and found this video of actual Navy SEAL Don Shipley who took to the web to vent about all of the lies that Dicken had been spewing

Another American who traveled to Africa with Dicken began questioning the situation once they touched down.

'None of the major players there in Burundi... knew who we were, what we were doing there,' chief pilot Mike Reynolds said to ABC.

'I mean, the stuff he was coming up with is just— it was insane... the whole situation there was dangerous.'

It was only then that Roberts and Reynolds began to really dig into Dicken's background and they were not reassured by what they found.

Apparently they weren't the first to question his credentials, as a true former Navy SEAL had made it his mission to stop people from believing Dicken's story.

Senior Chief Don Shipley runs a similar training camp in Virginia and also fields calls from potential employers looking to verify people who claim to be Navy SEALs.

'I verify, on average, at least 20 fraudulent SEAL claims a day,' Shipley said to ABC.

Next problem: Dicken remains in hiding but, because of his prior felony convictions that forbid him from owning firearms, he now faces illegal weapons charges

Next problem: Dicken remains in hiding but, because of his prior felony convictions that forbid him from owning firearms, he now faces illegal weapons charges

The Dicken case stuck with him, however, and he got so frustrated by having to continually deny his false claims that Shipley made a video talking to the camera about how angry Dicken's story made him.

'Oh, he says he has got two Medals of Honor, that hasn't happened since World War I... a POW? There's no listing. A.J. has a mental problem, and I go after the worst of the worst.' Shipley said.

After seeing the video online, Roberts and Reynolds got back to Nevada and told the investors about Dicken’s true background. Once they began asking questions, Dicken fled- originally to his parent’s house in California and then to a remote part of Alabama- moving whenever a local news affiliate started digging into his claims.

It is unclear how he and his former investors have left their relationship, but Dicken still has to deal with pending criminal charges.

Once his military background was proved false and his criminal record was found instead, that meant that he could face felony firearm charges since convicted felons are not allowed to own fire arms which is tricky for him as he promoted his training camp with videos of him firing a number of high-powered rifles.

When 20/20, which airs the full investigation Friday night, approached Dicken at his rural Alabama home, he refused to comment and said nothing about his web of lies.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE


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