by TER Staff
The Enterprise Report has been on the trail of Gary Lakis, a dishonored U.S. Marine caught swindling the Pentagon while pretending to be a decorated war vet.
Lakis is one interesting character, rebounding from his near-indictment in 2004 to a new globetrotting career as a "gun-for-hire" signing up as a war contractor operating from the Middle East to South and East Asia. His employers apparently unaware of his questionable and complicated past.
TER tracked Lakis from Australia to the dangerous back roads of Afghanistan. Rather surprisingly, he agreed recently to talk about this latest exploits in a series of email exchanges.
"I've tried hard to rebuild my life and channel it in a more positive manner", Lakis wrote. With the birth of two sons since his fake-medal and multi-million dollar Pentagon fraud scandal, he said, "What used to be so important to me seem so trivial now. I'm totally focused on my family's welfare." Lakis' past was exposed by ABC News in 2004, after he inflated his routine military career to help secure a $66 million dollar contract from the Pentagon in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks.
His company, SSI, Inc., was hired to train U.S. forces in counter-terror tactics, but when some of his employees - real special operations soldiers - found out his claims of being a decorated Marine Scout-Sniper weren't true and his training and skills sub-par, they turned him in, "I'm not sure what I can add to the SSI story," Lakis laments. It was a rather stressfull time in my life and I'd like to keep it in the past."
Pentagon criminal investigators, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney were all involved in the investigation into Lakis and how SSI obtained such a lucrative deal with such little oversight, but for unknown reasons, Lakis was never charged with a crime. When word of the scheme began to circulate around the special forces community in San Diego, California - where SSI was based - Lakis vanished, and later resurfaced in Australia.
Since then, Lakis has reinvented himself as a gun-for-hire, and T-E-R has confirmed his assignments have taken him to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war torn hotspots.
The question still remains - has Lakis truly reformed, or is his new-found redemption just another deception.