Arrested bank director to appear in court Thursday

Georgia man accused of losing $21M investor money before disappearing

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 08:38:26 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 02 2014 07:10:00 AM EST
Aubrey Price then and now
BRUNSWICK, Ga. -

A southeast Georgia bank director accused of losing $21 million of investor money will appear in court Thursday on federal charges after being on the run for a year and a half.

The U.S. attorney's office in Savannah says Aubrey Lee Price, 47, was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Brunswick by members of the Glynn County Sheriff's Department.

Price disappeared in June 2012 after sending a rambling confession letter to his family and investors saying he planned to drown himself off the Florida coast.

A Florida judge declared him dead about a year ago. But the FBI had said it didn't believe Price was dead and continued to search for him.

Channel 4 spoke with a friend of one of Price's alleged victims who is talking about his capture. The victim's friend said she's glad Price has been caught.

Glynn County deputies stopped Price vehicle off I-95 in Brunswick. Authorities said it was for a window tent violation. They said he gave them a fake identity and that's when they discovered he is the person the FBI has been looking for more than a year.

RELATED: Missing bank director arrested in Brunswick

Price will go before a judge Thursday at the Federal Courthouse in Brunswick on charges of bank fraud. When Price appears in court Thursday, it will likely be for a detainment hearing, according to Brunswick Public Defender Kevin Gough.

"The big issue tomorrow from the defendant's perspective is bond whether he can be released or if he will be detained," said Gough.

Gough said the 47-year-old investment banker is facing bank fraud allegations in at least two states.

"You would expect that the charges associated with his apprehension are charges that would normally be bondable but with the pending indictment in New York, there may be a bench warrant out there," said Gough. "The judge might be able to set bond on the New York charge, I presume he would but he might not."

The investment banker had been in hiding since mid-2012, after a federal grand jury indicted Price for allegedly defrauding Montgomery Bank & Trust of $21 million in the rural town of Ailey, Ga.

Aubrey Lee Price mug shot Prosecutors said it began in 2009 when Price raised $40 million from the bank and 115 investors, between Georgia and Florida, but then secretly committed fraud at their expense.

"These are very serious charges. Those that have been filed and those that might be filed, he could be facing a very long time in prison," said Gough. "He might spend the rest of his life there."

Tracy Morris said she is a friend of one of Price's alleged victims.

"I thought it was devastating," said Morris. "I can't believe he had the nerve to hide out so close to home, number one, especially after so many peoples' lives were impacted. It's disgusting."

Instead of investing the money collected, prosecutors said he used a fake New York-based company to hide those millions and illegally wire it to personal accounts at other banks.

After a year and a half, It's an alleged scheme Price will now have to answer to, as he sits in jail waiting to go before a judge.

Price faces bank fraud charges in Georgia and New York. Some of the charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 or 30 years. Bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.