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UPDATE – Richard Ruffert: Fraud
UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that the entire kingdom of Saudi Arabia was technically a combat zone. So, I would like to clarify that in terms of being in a country designated a combat zone, Mr. Ruffert is indeed a “combat veteran.” The point of my comment is that it doesn’t appear that he ever actually SAW combat or participated in armed action against or by the enemy. My apologies for not clarifying this little tidbit.
I would liken this to my service in Afghanistan. I’m not an Afghanistan “combat” veteran because I stayed on the FOB my entire deployment. Though we were mortared on a regular basis – some of which were less than 100 meters from my building – I did not see any real combat in Afghanistan.
Now, with that out of the way, I challenge Mr. Ruffert to answer all the other claims I’ve made based off his records. I’ve left messages on his voicemail asking for input. He refuses to give out his lawyer’s contact information.
I despise frauds. I loathe them. And Richard Ruffert is a fraud if his records are to be believed. What makes this case so incredibly loathesome is that Ruffert didn’t have to inflate his record. He served 22 years in the military and that should have been enough for him. But instead, he duped people into thinking he was something he was not, as in the video above.
I’m not saying that he duped OnStar. I’m sure that the contest had nothing to do with his lies. However, I believe his lies led to that moment. I think he lied about his service, which probably got him accepted into the Veterans Court program. Graduating from the program probably got him a job at the VA. The job at the VA paid for his car. His car is why he was able to “push that button.” And, pushing that button got him a Corvette. Ruffert tells me that he had the VA job PRIOR TO his admission to the Veterans Court. He also tells me that he also did not lie to the court to be admitted into the program. However, I have no proof either way that he did or didn’t. Considering all the other lies, it wasn’t that far of a stretch to wonder if he lied to get into the program.
So, what has Ruffert lied about? First of all, if you noticed at the beginning of the video the tag line was “Disabled Combat Veteran.”
The FACT is that Ruffert has NEVER been in combat in the traditional sense of the word in encountering an armed enemy. Yes, he was in a combat ZONE. Saudi Arabia was technically a “combat zone” and even if he were stationed in Jeddah on the Red Sea. But, when you say you have “combat PTSD” the insinuation is that the PTSD was a result of combat.
I work with many people and many agencies that seek to verify claims made publicly by veterans. Many times, those claims are true and there is never a mention that anyone was even looking into their background. However, too often we find that the claims being made publicly are false. Such was the case when the group investigated Ruffert through the Freedom of Information Act. I have access to Ruffert’s driver licence information, divorce records, criminal records, and official military records that are publicly available. All information was legally obtained through FOIA. Here is what came back relating to his deployment “experience.”
As you can see from his records, his only overseas time was to Honduras and Saudi Arabia. Granted, his “TDY” to Saudi Arabia was during Desert Storm, it doesn’t mention any combat time to Iraq. If he had crossed the border into Iraq during combat actions that took place between January and February of 1991, it would be annotated. He does have the Kuwait Liberation Medal and the Saudi Arabia-Kuwait Liberation Medal in his records.
The Kuwait Liberation Medal is awarded to troops who served in support of Operation Desert Storm and included those “on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days. These time limitations may be waived for members participating in actual combat operations.” The same requirements are present the SA-KLM.
So, if it’s possible that Ruffert participated in ODS, why am I calling him out for being a combat veteran?
During the last legislative session here in Texas, Senate Resolution No. 49 was passed and signed by Governor Perry. The title of that resolution is “Commending Master Sergeant Richard Ruffert on his service to our nation.” I’ll get to the “Master Sergeant” aspect later.
Here is a brief section of the bill:
There are a number of issues in just this section. Ruffert’s records do NOT show any deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Bosnia at all. They also don’t show any Legion of Merit or two Bronze Stars. In fact, Ruffert’s highest medal is the Meritorious Service Medal. The Senate would have no way of getting this information unless Ruffert gave it to them. He surely didn’t ask to have it fixed even he wasn’t the source of the information since it still remains in the official records (don’t worry, I’m already in contact with the Texas Senate to have this resolution expunged).
Finally, the resolution indicates that Ruffert retired as a Master Sergeant. The truth is that he retired as a Sergeant First Class.
But, it gets worse.
On September 16, 2011, Ruffert published the following on the Veterans Courts Facebook page.
An inquiry to the Ranger schoolhouse came back negative. Ruffert never went to the school and was never bestowed the coveted and hard-to-earn title of Ranger. This wasn’t a one-time claim either.
Last November, Scholastic Magazine published a story by James Dao called “This Is A Face of War.” It was a moving story about Joey Paulk, who was actually injured in Afghanistan and left disfigured when his vehicle was hit by an IED. Paulk is the real deal and will carry with him lifelong evidence of his sacrifice for this country. I urge you to read his story.
As an addendum to the story, Scholastic included a story titled “With Help From a Friend” by Rachel Morris. The supposedly non-fiction story is about “retired Army Ranger Richard Ruffert.”
What a sick man! Here we have a true American hero in Joey Paulk and at the end of his story of resilience and sacrifice we have Richard Ruffert inflating his ego with stories of false grandeur and bravado. He claims that he was in the same war that Paulk was in.
In all the stories I’ve been able to find about Ruffert, there really isn’t anything specific about what exactly led to his supposed claim of PTSD. Here in Texas he was convicted of property theft in 2009 of less than $500. From all appearances, he seems to have developed his PTSD in response to getting out of trouble. If you look at the above Facebook posting again, he brags about his record being expunged without any mention of the theft and claiming his only run-in with the law was overdosing on pills.
Here, it seems we have proof that Ruffert also defrauded a worthy non-profit – K9s For Warriors.
What sickens me the most is that programs like Veterans Courts and K9s For Warriors were designed to help legitimate people deal with PTSD. And along come people like Ruffert who lie and fabricate their records to suit their own selfish purposes and egos. This only serves to cast an aura of suspicion on every other veteran with legitimate PTSD who needs real help. The Texas legislature will now be less likely to actually honor a real Texan who hasn’t lied about his experiences and service record.
I’ve always said that I agreed with the Supreme Court about the unconstitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act to a point. I think the Constitution protects people who want to lie about themselves. What it DOESN’T protect against, however, is fraud. When those lies are used to get something tangible, whether monetarily or in terms of recognition and benefits, it ceases to be protected speech. In other words, he can go into a bar and lie about being a lawyer, a rich business man, or a combat disabled veteran to the hot chick at the bar, but once he uses that to get free drinks he’s committed a crime.
I also believe the best way to deal with these frauds is through public humiliation. This man should NOT be helping other veterans. He should NOT be employed by the Veterans Administration. He should NOT have had his record expunged through the Texas Veterans Courts since he lied to them. He should be held in contempt and I will seek to ensure he is.
Retired Sergeant First Class Richard Ruffert is a fraud. And he surely ain’t a Christian.
View the entire FOIA results here.