(June 12) -- Richard Strandlof said he survived the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon. He said he survived again when a roadside bomb went off in Iraq killing four fellow Marines. He'd point to his head and tell people he had a metal plate, collateral damage from the explosion. Crowds ate up his story. He canvassed Colorado appearing at the sides of politicians. Inspiring and seemingly authentic, he spoke on behalf of veterans at the state Capitol. It turns out the whole thing was a lie. He wasn't at the Pentagon. He was never a Marine. He never served his country. He never graduated from the Naval Academy. He claimed his name was Rick Duncan.He formed a group called the Colorado Veterans Alliance, and the FBI is now investigating whether he embezzled money as a result. Where was he on 9/11, the day he said he witnessed heroism firsthand? I was in San Jose, California, watching it in horror on TV with a few other people," Strandlof told CNN's Anderson Cooper. He was at a homeless shelter at the time.Strandlof denies being a pathological liar. He says he suffered from "some severely underdiagnosed mental illness" and that he got caught up in the moment around "people who are passionate and loved what they did. He told CNN he had put on a "production, which I'm sorry for."