Candy from a baby
Franklin Rep. Jim Ryan remained in the Carroll County jail yesterday on unpaid restitution of nearly $9,700 from a 16-year-old criminal case. But that’s only a portion of what he owes. Ryan is also delinquent on two debts in Merrimack County totaling more than $230,000, according to court records.
Ryan’s arrest Friday shocked those who knew him as a tireless Franklin booster, a policy wonk and a prominent member of the state’s Democratic Party. Ryan, 50 and serving his second term, chaired the House Transportation Committee and the recent New Hampshire presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Biden.
Before his arrest, Ryan was also teaching public policy at New England College and political science at Keene State College. But a review of state and county court records yesterday stood at odds with the public face Ryan has put forward in New Hampshire.
He’s been convicted, mostly for financial crimes, in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He was jailed Friday for allegedly failing to repay the money he stole in Carroll County while passing bad checks.
Ryan surrendered his law license in Connecticut after forgery convictions there in 1988 but has continued to hold himself out as a lawyer, according to court records. In fact, Ryan took such advantage of a Manchester attorney who tried to help him on probation, a prison probation officer told court officials Ryan was beyond rehabilitation.
“It is my feeling that this man will (reoffend),” the probation officer testified in 1996 during a hearing about Ryan’s probation violations. “He has devoted his life – as far as I can see it – with a life of crime.”
Ryan could not be reached yesterday at the jail. His attorney, Jim Craig, said last week that he is working on new bail arrangements for Ryan that would allow Ryan to leave jail, work and begin paying off his debt.
Ryan was born in Connecticut, graduated from law school in 1982 and began his law career in Danbury, where he also served two terms on the city council and one on the board of education, according to records at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. By 1986, though, he was in legal trouble.
He was convicted in Connecticut that year on one count of larceny and one count of issuing a bad check, according to a summary in the Supreme Court file. Two years later, Ryan was convicted of forgery, the file said. The specifics of Ryan’s Connecticut offenses were not available yesterday.
Ryan surrendered his law license and moved to Massachusetts, the file said. His legal problems continued. Between 1988 and 1993, Ryan was convicted in Massachusetts of larceny, larceny by false pretenses, larceny by check and unauthorized practice of law, according to the Supreme Court file. The details of those convictions are not available, because Massachusetts does not release criminal records older than three years.
Ryan moved again, this time to Freedom, the Supreme Court file said. The file did not include many specifics of Ryan’s New Hampshire offenses, but it tallied them.
Ryan was convicted in 1991 of issuing bad checks in the Ossipee and Conway district courts, the file said. A year later, Ryan was convicted in Carroll County Superior Court on four counts of forgery. He was also convicted in Hillsborough County Superior Court of theft by unauthorized taking.
State officials described the crimes as a scheme that stretched from Carroll to Hillsborough counties.
For those offenses, Ryan was sentenced to the state prison for 1½ to 3 years and ordered to repay the money he had stolen in the course of the forgeries. The court told Ryan he could pay the money in $50 weekly installments. It’s that unpaid debt that Ryan was arrested and jailed on late last week, according to the prosecutor’s office in Carroll County.
About the same time, Ryan was also convicted in Hillsborough County Superior Court on two counts of issuing bad checks. In that case, Ryan had entered into a professional and personal relationship with a real estate agent from Weare and falsely represented himself as a Massachusetts attorney specializing in taxation, the Supreme Court file said.
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