Kevin Richard Halligen

The dapper British spy living a life of luxury in the Washington, D.C. area had a secret.

That’s no surprise.  Such a worldly fellow would surely have built up a few secrets while trotting the globe. 

His name was Kevin Richard Halligen and, among other projects, he was offered $500,000 to help the family of Madeleine McCann, the English girl who went missing in Portugal a few years back.

Halligen “stayed in a Willard Hotel suite for months at a time and drank the days away at pricey Georgetown restaurants,” a 2011 Washington Post article noted. “He traveled everywhere in a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car.”

Ah, but there was still that secret.  Kevin Richard Halligen, the fellow with (as the Post put it) “amazing ease and a perfect British accent” was actually born in Dublin in 1961. 

For all of the lies Halligen told – including to his own wife as well as to the distraught McCann family – if anyone had simply looked at his passport they’d have seen he was a Dubliner.

It turns out Halligen had actually never really served as a spy and had very few contacts in the global intelligence community.  But there was one thing he was very good at --spending other people’s money.

Last week, it all finally caught up with Halligen.  In a Washington, D.C. courtroom, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asked Halligen if it was his intent, all along, to defraud his victims.
Halligen said, “It was.”

Halligen pled guilty to conning one London-based business out of over $2 million, though the actual amount of money he swindled over the years is much higher.  Halligen is expected to be sentenced on June 27.

Halligen turned out to be a striver who concealed key facts about his past – in fact, invented a new persona for himself – so that he could live a lavish lifestyle, even if that lifestyle was funded through devious means.  In the end, it all came crashing down.

If that sounds familiar, you may have seen the same story unfold this past week in a movie theater. That pretty much sums up the life of Jay Gatsby, the doomed main character in the new 3D movie of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American literary classic.

At least Gatsby did it for love.  Halligen, on the other hand, seems to have had no such emotions. 
How else do you explain taking nearly $500,000 from the McCann family?  Halligen was supposed to use his vast international contacts to help track down the little girl.  He never got around to it.

If there is any good news here, at least the McCann family is considering additional charges against Halligen, who is not expected to spend any more time in a U.S. jail since he’s already served a number of years while awaiting trial.  He will be sent back to England next month, where more troubles await him.

“It is understood that Kate and Gerry McCann are now considering suing Halligen for allegedly fleecing their fund.  He could also be arrested if the couple make a formal complaint,” the Mirror newspaper reported this week.

Halligen may represent a sleazy version of the Gatsby-esque American Dream/Nightmare.  But he also represents a sad reality about America and its open borders. 

“That’s what we get for letting all these damn foreigners in,” many say, when yet another crime is committed in the U.S. by those born abroad, whether that crime is financial theft or murder and mayhem at a big city marathon.

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali asked soberly in The Wall Street Journal this week, “It is reasonable to ask yourself: How many more young men like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are already living a double life in America, ready to take up arms for the cause of political Islam?”

It is reasonable to ask this.  So long as we realize that Irishmen with posh British accents also commit rather disgusting crimes.

And so long as we acknowledge the vast contributions that millions of anonymous, law-abiding immigrants and their children make each day, in their own humble pursuit of the American Dream.

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