More weird news from Hardin, Mont., where Michael Hilton came to
town in a military-style uniform and a fleet of Mercedes SUVS saying he
was a naturalized U.S. citizen, native of Montenegro, seasoned defense
contractor and entrepreneur with extensive government contracts and
experience advising troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. For $2.6 million,
he told hurting city officials, he would take over their empty $27
million jail, provide 200 jobs, build a $17 million military training
and law enforcement center, and a homeless shelter, animal shelter and free health clinic
to boot. Good times in Hardin.
Except. Hilton's American Police
Force, with a way slick website advertising a tantalizing array of
services - from convoy security to rescuing kidnap victims (or
kidnapping them himself) to interdicting terror activity and WMDs (or
selling them himself) to the profoundly elusive "covert pregnancy
testing" - apparently doesn't exist. Hilton in fact is a former cook,
land developer, car salesman and convicted felon with a string of
aliases - among them, Miodrag
Dokovich and Hristian Djokich - a decades-long record of bad deals, and
outstanding legal judgments against him totalling over $1.1 million.
Which sum, it seems, the Hardin contract would have nicely covered.
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what's fascinating about this story. First, the website looks great,
proving once again that anyone in this oh-so-electronic age can say
they are anyone who can do anything, and who's to say they're not, and
in case you haven't learned this yet: Don't believe everything you read
on the Internet. Second, in these terror-stricken days, it seems the scam to end
all scams is about fear and armed security to combat it: We'll guard you! We'll get the bad guys!
We'll sell you many guns so you can kill them! Or we'll do it
ourselves! Of if your spouse is the bad guy, we'll get him/her, too!
Third, in these angry, paranoid, polarized and gun-happy times, it's
actually good news to find out that the American Police Force
is not yet another Blackwater-flavored bunch of racist militaristic thugs, but simply a
scam, albeit a bizarre one.
"Such schemes you cannot believe," said Joseph Carella, a California doctor and co-defendant with Hilton in a real estate
"The guy's brilliant. If he had been able to do honest work, he probably would have been a gazillionaire."