Two and a half years ago, the elegant Georgetown estate Evermay was the site of a scam marriage put on by an international fraudster in a storyline that is stranger than fiction.
Specifically, in the spring of 2007 a British national named Kevin Halligen rented out Evermay to host his wedding to American Maria Dybczak. According to recent news reports:
THE wedding guests arrived in black limousines to see a British secret agent marry his US government lawyer bride, surrounded by the strictest of security. From the grand 19th-century Evermay mansion, where the ceremony took place, the guests had commanding views of America’s power base, Washington, DC. It is a city where former intelligence operatives and military men mix warily with politicians and power-brokers, looking for lucrative government security contracts. Among the guests at the wedding were a former CIA station chief and a security adviser to Barack Obama. The best man had once been special operations marine colonel.
The guests were some of the best-informed people in the capital. Yet none knew that the wedding was a sham, the priest was an amateur actor and Richard Halligen, the groom, was an imposter.
Had the wedding not been fake, it would have been illegal. That’s because Halligen was already married.
The fake wedding was part of an international scam. Halligen was in the business of making people believe that he was some sort of a James Bondish super spy for hire (his real background was in catering). He spun lies about working for the CIA and Britain’s Mi5 and Mi6. He conned companies into giving him millions of pounds for his “expertise.”
If there’s one thing Halligen apparently learned about being a spy from watching James Bond movie, it was to live decadently:
His first entry into the private security business was as technical director for the Inkerman Group, a company set up by Gerald Moor, an ex-army intelligence officer. The job ended abruptly in 2003 after Halligen drank Moor’s stocks of champagne and “irreplaceable” burgundy while house-sitting for a couple of weeks.
Despite this set back, Halligen continued to dupe people who really ought to know better. His coup-de-disgrace was stealing 300,000 pounds from a fund set up to find a lost child. He promised satellite imagery. He delivered Google Earth.
But where does the fake wedding fit in? He met Dybczak in Washington while he was spending stolen money living at the Willard. He convinced her that he was a spy for the British government. He quickly proposed and planned the wedding at Everymay. Just 48 hours before the wedding ceremony, however, he informed her that his spymasters wouldn’t permit him to file his real name on the wedding certificate. Therefore they could only perform a fake wedding. He promised a real one to follow.
Perhaps keenly aware of how catering managers can pull off an act, he hired theirs to play the role of the priest.
His exploits finally caught up with him two weeks ago. Wanted by U.S. and British officials, he was arrested in Oxford on November 25th.
(Tip from William)