Former NH legislator arrested in Connecticut
James E. Ryan, a former state representative from Franklin who served as a state chairman for then-Sen. Joe Biden's presidential primary campaign in 2008, was arrested without incident in Connecticut Tuesday as a fugitive from justice.
The state of New Hampshire listed him as a fugitive and issued a warrant for his capture on Feb. 21 when his whereabouts were unknown, said Jeff Lyons, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.
Ryan, 56, entered state prison on Feb. 9, 2010, and was paroled June 24, 2013. Before he left the state and was listed as a fugitive, he was to be on parole until July 15, 2021.
Back in 2010, Ryan pleaded guilty in Merrimack County Superior Court to felony charges of theft, forgery and issuing bad checks.
He stole checks from contributors intended for the Committee to Elect House Democrats, and he also stole money from the Franklin City Democratic Committee's bank account, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.
He resigned from the House in a note handwritten from jail on Sept. 18, 2008. His theft of the local Democratic committees' money occurred between September 2006 and July 2007, but he was, at the time, wanted for an alleged violation of a probation order connected to theft and fraud charges dating back 18 years.
Upon pleading guilty, Merrimack County Superior Court sentenced Ryan to four to 12 years in state prison. He was sentenced to an additional seven and a half to 15 years, suspended for 10 years upon his initial release, contingent upon good behavior. The sentence also stipulated that he pay $17,164.92 in restitution to the victims.
State chairs for presidential primary campaigns in New Hampshire serve as spheres of local influence. Campaign managers and other political operatives, in concert with the candidate, actively run the campaigns.
As first reported by The Day newspaper in New London, Conn., Ryan was found Tuesday at an apartment he was renting at 31 Vivian St. in Waterford, Conn., and he was being held pending an arraignment Wednesday in New London Superior Court.
Corrections department spokesman Lyons said Ryan will be returned to New Hampshire at some point, and he will appear again before the parole board.