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Ukiah Banker Pleads No Contest to Grand Theft, State Income Tax Fraud

Released: February 18, 2009

(Sacramento) A Ukiah man pleaded no contest Friday to grand theft with an enhancement for taking over $200,000 and filing a false state income tax return, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) reported.

James Harrison, 61, was employed as a bank vice president of lending. According to court records, Harrison was the trustee for a revocable living trust. From 2002 – 2004, Harrison embezzled more than $200,000 from the trust for his personal use. Harrison also failed to claim these funds on his state income tax returns. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources.

Harrison faces up to 1 year in jail and 5 years probation. His sentencing is scheduled for April 15. Restitution to his victims and FTB will be ordered at that time. FTB is owed more than $41,500 in unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation.

Mendocino Superior Court Judge Ronald Brown accepted the plea in Department B. Deputy Attorney General Ron Smetana with the California Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.