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Loser Uses Photos of Fallen to Scam Public
Recently, I was contacted by someone asking to look into a man claiming to be a former Chief Petty Officer in St. Charles, Missouri. Ryan Zull is frequently seen in bars and public events wearing the uniform of a Naval Chief Petty Officer, quite an accomplishment for Sailors. He claims to have joined the Navy in 2001 and got out earlier this year.
Based on my research, Ryan only served 11 months in the Navy. Since there is no possible way for a Sailor to go from zero to CPO in 11 months, I’m pretty confident he’s making it up.
Ryan held a fundraiser recently in which he distributed the following flier for publicity of the event.
In addition to distributing the flier, he posted it on his personal Facebook page, which is now private after my inquiries and grabbing this from his photos. Ryan claims that the Marine at the bottom of the flier was a good friend of his who was killed in 2008, Gunnery Sergeant Steven Howard. On the memorial that Zull created with the funds he raised, he listed 17 other fallen troops to memorialize. The problem is that there is no such person as GySgt Steven Howard that was killed in combat. Three other names of the 17 he listed were similiarly absent from the list of fallen warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to an article written by Russell Korando in July, Zull removed those names when a Gold Star Mother challenged the memorial that used her son’s name without permission.
I contact Zull for comment via his Facebook page and asked if he could explain why he was using the image of a fallen Marine with a fake name. Naturally, frauds don’t like being called out. Though I asked for a copy of his DD214, he said I had my facts wrong and that he had already been vetted. The problem is that the same people he says were provided with his DD214 haven’t confirmed any of the pertinent information.
A copy of Zull’s DD 214 — military separation document — indicates he left the Navy with an honorable discharge. The parts of the document that ordinarily would show where he served, how long he served and his rank were blacked out. Zull said he left the service to get custody of his two sons.
Any reader of This Ain’t Hell knows that these items aren’t sensitive and rarely blacked out. However, Zull most likely blacked them out to obscure the truth about his military service and further his fraud. When I brought up the DD214 discrepancy, Zull refused to answer and directed me to his attorney. Two voicemails to his attorney have remained unanswered, though it is a legitimate law firm.
I should have his FOIA documents shortly.