Image: Hal Bidlack, Richard Glen Strandlof aka Rick Duncan
Carol Lawrence  /  Colorado Springs Gazette file
Richard Glen Strandlof, right, is seen being comforted by Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack at a Sept. 11 memorial at the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sept. 11, 2008. Strandlof, the founder of a Colorado-based veterans organization, is accused of posing as a former Marine captain.
updated 5/15/2009 5:59:54 PM ET 2009-05-15T21:59:54

A Colorado-based veterans group has voted to disband after members accused its founder of fabricating an identity as a former Marine captain who served three tours in Iraq and was at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Richard Glen Strandlof, who used the name Rick Duncan, founded the Colorado Veterans Alliance about two years ago. There is no record of someone with either name serving in the Marines, said Maj. Carl Redding, a Marine Corps spokesman.

Strandlof, 32, was in police custody Friday in Denver on $1,000 bond after his arrest Tuesday on an outstanding traffic warrant. He declined an Associated Press request for an interview.

His actions "permanently damaged the reputation of Colorado Veterans Alliance to the point that no future efforts can go forward," alliance spokesman Dan Warvi said.

Strandlof was quoted as Duncan — a wounded veteran and advocate — by numerous news organizations, including The AP, and was featured in a commercial sponsored by a veterans group on behalf of Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

He also brought attention to the plight of homeless veterans in Colorado Springs.

Despite using a fake identity, Strandlof "was responsible for good things happening for the homeless veterans," Colorado Springs City Council member Jerry Heimlicher said.

The accusations against Strandlof were first reported by The Gazette.

Strandlof's grandfather, Richard Kenneth Strandlof of Dayton, Mont., said his grandson lived with them in Montana as a teenager. He said Strandlof was a "child prodigy" who would use the Internet to create aliases and fake identities.

"It was amazing the stuff he would come up with — that he had a Ph.D. from Europe," the elder Strandlof said. "And people would believe him!"

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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