A.J. Dicken claimed to be the most decorated Navy Seal of all time. A military personnel file he once gave to an investor, states DIcken was awarded the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, two Purple Heats and the Navy Cross – the Navy’s highest honor.
According to Dicken, the late spy author Tom Clancy, even based his book A Clear and Present Danger on some of Dicken’s combat heroics.
But Dicken’s claims went even further. He’s allegedly told investors he was the elite Navy SEAL from Team Six, who put a bullet between the eyes of America’s number one enemy.
“He looked me straight in the eye and told me [he was] the one that shot Osama bin Laden,” Colorado TV producer Harry Vested told INSIDE EDITION.
Vested was so impressed by Dicken’s heroic war exploits, he said he gave Dicken over $60,000 to buy the rights to his life story.
“It's incredible. I was sitting with, according to him, the most decorated SEAL in the history of the Navy SEALs,” said Vested, who planned to make a movie based on Dicken’s extraordinary military career.
Although skeptical at first, Vested said he was certain Dicken was the real deal after he got emails apparently from none other than retired Lt. Colonel Oliver North.
“Oliver North came back and said, ‘This is fine, I verify anything that A.J. says as a national hero and I will stand by him’,” explained Vested.
Vested was even present when A.J. Dicken cut the cake at a ceremony honoring him and other veterans. Pictures Vested provided to INSIDED EDITION show Dicken wearing a hat with the Navy SEAL insignia.
But after Dicken hit Vested up for more money, Vested said he grew suspicious. So he contacted retired Navy SEAL Senior Chief Don Shipley, and that’s when Vested’s worse fears came true, Dickens claims were false.
“He’s a phony. A.J. Dicken has never served a day in the military, not one,” said Shipley.
That's right - Navy and military records checked by Shipley and verified by INSIDE EDITION show A.J. has no military record whatsoever!
Dicken may not have a military record, but he does have a criminal record. Court papers obtained by INSIDE EDITION show he's served time in jail for burglary and forgery.
“He's just making this stuff up as he goes. He's a total clown,” said Shipley.
But what about those emails from Lt. Col. North? Turns out they were elaborate forgeries.
Col. North told INSIDE EDITION, "I’ve never heard of A.J. Dicken and I hope they throw away the key when they lock him up."
Shipley said, “When A.J. tells you he's a Command Master Chief at SEAL Team Six, in the CIA, killed bin Laden, wow! People believed it.”
Several other people have also come forward claiming they too were suckered by Dicken’s outrageous lies.
“He's basically a wrecking ball and everywhere he goes, he leaves behind a wake of people he's scammed or hurt,” Nevada surgeon Brian Romaneschi told INSIDE EDITION.
Romaneschi says he and another doctor invested almost a million dollars into a bogus security venture created by Dicken.
“I can’t tell you how foolish I feel. I'm definitely embarrassed that I believed in him, ever,” said Dr. Romaneschi.
Dr. Romaneschi and other investors say Dicken used their money and phony military credentials to attend meetings in New York City at the United Nations building, where they claim he allegedly tried to pull off his biggest con yet.
Dicken was actually named Chief of Security on a mission to Africa.
Carol Roberts accompanied Dicken on the African adventure and said, “He’s a fraud and he's dangerous. He's leading us in Africa and he doesn't know a single thing.”
Roberts says Dicken was drunk during much of the time and provided zero protection.
A.J. Dicken disappeared without a trace after questions were raised about his background. But after months of searching, INSIDE EDITION’s I-SQUAD finally found him hiding out in rural Arkansas, living in an RV park.
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guererro asked Dicken, “Why do you tell people you're a Navy SEAL when you’re not?”
“I’m not,” he replied.
“Why do you tell people you're a Navy SEAL when you've never spent a day in your life in the military?” asked Guererro.
“I haven't,” said Dicken.
Dr. Romaneschi and other investors, who once thought Dicken was a genuine American hero, are relieved today that the truth has finally caught up with this bogus Navy SEAL.
“You're a scam artist and you deserve to be in jail,” said Dr. Romaneschi.
Dicken has not been charged with any crimes.