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updated: 5/20/2014 4:31 PM

Man charged with posing as Navy SEAL, defrauding charity

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Daily Herald report

A 34-year-old California man is accused of defrauding a Crystal Lake charity out of $30,000 by posing as a decorated Navy SEAL.

William J. Burley is accused of accepting the funds in exchange for helping International Aid Services America negotiate the release of three kidnapped charity workers in Somalia, federal prosecutors said.

According to court papers, Burley presented himself as an "experienced operative" who could assist the charity rescue the captured employees who were assaulted and kidnapped in July 2012.

Prosecutors said Burley said he was a "highly decorated" Navy SEAL with degrees from the Universities of Delaware and Maryland who consulted with the Navy, Defense Department and State Department. He also said he formerly worked as a law enforcement officer, federal prosecutors said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to the charity's website, the three abducted workers -- two men and one woman -- have yet to be released.

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