San Diego man charged in embezzlement scheme has Albany ties

A man arrested in San Diego last week for an embezzlement scheme has ties to the Albany area.

Last week, 33-year-old James Ryan Lanier was arrested in San Diego, California, on charges including fraud, money laundering, and identity theft relating to the embezzlement of more than $800,000 in funds from Merrill Lynch clients.

In a press release issued by the Jacksonville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," the 65-count indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, while working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Lanier transmitted fraudulent letters of authorization bearing forged client signatures to Merrill Lynch client associates who were responsible for processing wire transfers of client funds. The letters contained false and misleading statements designed to induce the client associates to wire transfer funds from client investment accounts to bank accounts held and controlled by Lanier. According to the indictment, Lanier purposely sought assistance from client associates who were unfamiliar with Lanier's clients. In directing the transfers of these funds, Lanier falsely claimed that he had obtained voice approval from Merrill Lynch clients on a recorded telephone line. As alleged in the indictment, Lanier used the embezzled client funds to make loan payments and to purchase vehicles and a condominium in Albany, Georgia, as well as an interest in a cellular telecommunications business."

The release also say that Lanier will be formally arraigned at an initial appearance currently set for August 16, 2012, at 1:30 p.m., before United States Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos in Tallahassee.