Former Merrill Lynch Advisor, James Ryan Lanier, Arrested in Embezzlement
Scheme, Charged with Stealing $800K from Clients
James Ryan Lanier, a former Merrill Lynch advisor, has been arrested and
charged with fraud, money laundering, and identify theft in connection
to an alleged embezzlement scheme. Authorities allege that he stole more
than $800,000 from his clients between 2008 and 2010.
According to the 65-count indictment, Lanier made a series of false claims and
misrepresentations to convince client associates to wire transfer funds from his clients’
investment accounts into bank accounts under his control. He allegedly
lied to the associates and told them that he obtained voice approval for
the transfers from the clients on a recorded telephone line. He also allegedly
forged client signatures in order to facilitate the transfers.
Lanier is accused of spending the stolen funds on vehicles and a condominium
in Albany, Georgia. He also allegedly used the money to make loan payments
and to invest in a cellular telecommunications business. He was arrested
in San Diego, California, on August 9.
If convicted, Lanier could face up to 30 years in prison for each count
of fraud, up to 10 years in prison for money laundering, and up to two
years for aggravated theft. His formal arraignment is scheduled for Aug.
16 at 1:30 p.m. in Tallahassee. For additional information, click