Man of Many Identities Accused of Impersonating Laywer

A Gales Ferry man accused of posing as a lawyer seems to have multiple identities, but not one is licensed to practice law in the state.

The case of John Zinn, 55, also known as Jack Salsman Jr. and at least 10 other names, started in 2008 when a Connecticut man's friends introduced him to a man who identified himself as an attorney, police said. At least, the Connecticut case started there. He is also wanted in California, according to authorities.

The Connecticut victim met with Zinn at a local restaurant, signed an attorney/client retainer agreement and paid him $3,700 in cash, police said. Later, the victim later learned that Zinn was not really an attorney, so he contacted a South Windsor Police officer for advice.

Police looked into it and checked Connecticut Bar Association records. None showed any licensed attorneys in Connecticut named John M. Zinn, police said. In fact, no one by that name ever applied to take the Connecticut Bar exam.

Investigators traced the phone numbers on Zinn's business cards and determined that he had also been arrested by the state police and charged him with a previous Criminal Impersonation violation. 

They found him in Rhode Island and detained him. On Wednesday, police went to Cranston, Rhode Island, took custody of  Zinn and brought to South Windsor Police headquarters.

He was charged with criminal impersonation, larceny, practice of law by persons not attorneys.

His bond was increased from $25,000 to $75,000 and a competency exam was ordered. He is due back in court on May 28. 

He is also wanted by authorities in California and will be extradited following the disposition of the Connecticut arrest.

Zinn's alleged impersonations extend to Utah. In 1990, he was arrested there and served three years under the name Adrian Chow for Impersonating a Federal Officer, police said.

Chow and Salsman are among the more than 12 aliases Zinn has used, according to South Windsor Police.

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