A house built with structural panels made by Bryant's company. A house built with structural panels made by Bryant's company.

US citizen arrested on six felony counts

Man sent back to US after being arrested in Oaxaca

A United States citizen living and working in Oaxaca has been arrested and returned to the U.S. where he was wanted for fraud and other charges.

James Bryant, who had been sought by U.S. authorities since 2008, is accused of theft, failure to register as a salesperson, failure to register a security, fraudulent practices, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit fraudulent practices in Ravalli County, Montana.

Bryant’s arrest was the conclusion of a near-decade-old securities scam that allegedly involved an allegedly fake structural panel business in Mexico and a US $150,000 investment by a member of a church where Bryant was a pastor.

Bryant’s partner and fellow pastor, Harris Himes, was convicted in 2013 on felony securities fraud charges.

The victim in the case said he was duped into believing the company was making the structural panels, but when he insisted on traveling to the Mexican factory all he found was a storage shed with agricultural items inside.

Bryant testified at his accomplice’s 2013 trial, under qualified immunity, and promised to refund the $150,000 investment. He claimed the business took a downturn due to the economy in 2008.

Three years later, as Himes began serving his sentence, a U.S. district court opened a criminal case against Bryant, alleging that he traveled across state or national lines to avoid prosecution.

By this time Bryant had returned to Mexico despite knowing that he had outstanding felony charges, telling a news outlet at the time that he was aware of the charges and had opted to stay in Mexico because people there were depending on him to keep his business going.

Bryant has lived for several years in the resort town of Puerto Escondido, where he has operated a business making structural insulated panels for housing and commercial construction.

“We’re going to prosecute Bryant,” Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said on Tuesday. “”Running away doesn’t solve the problem.”

Source: Ravalli Republic (en)

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