Former Merrill Lynch broker banned for stealing $1M from clients

Banned from industry for stealing funds to invest in company, buy condo and pickup

Nov 6, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

By Trevor Hunnicutt

+ Zoom

The Securities and Exchange Commission has banned a former Bank of America Merrill Lynch broker from the securities industry for stealing from clients.

Federal prosecutors said James R. Lanier of Tallahassee, Fla., forged his clients' signatures on letters authorizing wire transfers from their accounts to his.

Authorities said Mr. Lanier illegally used nearly $1 million in client funds to invest in a cellular telecommunications business, as well as to buy a condominium and pickup truck, among other uses.

“Lanier's unlawful conduct was recurring and egregious,” SEC Administrative Law Judge Carol Fox Foelak wrote in a decision filed on Tuesday that was not contested by Mr. Lanier. “Extending over a period of several years, it involved hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Mr. Lanier pleaded guilty to 22 counts of fraud and related charges last November. He was sentenced to 8 years and 10 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $887,931 in restitution.

William P. Halldin, a spokesman for Bank of America Corp., which owns Merrill, said the company has already reimbursed the victims and that the bank is owed the restitution amount. Bank of America learned that the money was misappropriated in March 2010 and notified authorities, Mr. Halldin said.

Mr. Lanier was employed by Merrill between September 2008 and March 2010, authorities said.

Efforts to reach Mr. Lanier or a lawyer working on his behalf were unsuccessful.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

INTV

DOL fiduciary rule opponents and supporters sound off on Jan. 1 deadline

Senior reporter Mark Schoeff Jr. and managing editor Christina Nelson discuss the latest batch of comment letters on the regulation, this round focused on timing of the full implementation date.

Latest news & opinion

Will Jeffrey Gundlach's Trump-like approach on Twitter work in financial services?

The DoubleLine CEO's attacks on Wall Street Journal reporters is igniting a discussion on what's fair game on social media.

Plaintiffs win in Tibble vs. Edison 401(k) fee case

After a decade of activity around the lawsuit, including a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, judge rules a prudent fiduciary would have invested in institutional shares.

Advisers get more breathing room to make Form ADV changes

RIAs can enter '0' in some new parts of the document before their annual filing next year.

Since banking scandal, Wells Fargo advisers with more than $19.2 billion leave firm

Despite a trying year, the firm has said it will sweeten signing bonuses for veteran advisers.

Is LPL's deal sweet enough for NPH's 3,200 reps and advisers?

They will have to decide if the signing package they are being offered by LPL makes sense. A lot is hanging in the balance.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print