BRUNSWICK — An investment banker, with Lowndes County ties who has been wanted by federal authorities since 2012 regarding $40 million of missing money, was identified and arrested this morning by the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office.
An admission and fingerprints have confirmed that the man taken into custody this morning is Aubrey Lee Price, who vanished in June 2012 after boarding a ferry in Key West, Fla., said Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump.
Price and his family had lived in the Stone Creek area of Lowndes County at the time of his disappearance.
At approximately 11 a.m. today, a Glynn County sheriff’s deputy stopped a 2001 Dodge Ram for a window-tint violation, Jump said. The driver identified himself as John Doe, which raised the deputy’s interest.
The driver was taken into custody; he reportedly carried false IDs. Glynn County authorities ran his fingerprints, which matched Price’s, and the driver admitted he was Price.
“He told us, ‘I’m going to make you famous,’” Jump said.
Price was still being held in the Glynn County Jail this afternoon awaiting the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jump said.
In July 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Price on a charge of bank fraud, according to court documents. Prosecutors say his actions led to the depletion of the cash assets and reserves of Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey.
Price also faces federal charges in New York, where an estimated $17 million was embezzled, according to past reports and court documents.
An estimated $17 million of the missing $40 million was from Montgomery Bank & Trust — a small bank in Ailey about 170 miles southeast of Atlanta — where Price acted as bank director, according to the bank’s website in 2012. That bank was shut down in 2012.
In late 2010, some of Price’s investors put at least $10 million into MB&T, which was listed in December 2010 as the state’s most troubled institution, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. After locals contributed an additional $4 million, the investment was hailed as a success and was even highlighted in a January 2011 front page-article in the AJC, according to past reports.
The SEC soon claimed the investment was worthless as the assets had been depleted and most of its reserves were lost in trading, according to the Associated Press in 2012. In addition to wire fraud, the SEC alleges that losses between $20 million and $23 million were hidden from clients during a two-year period.
In Valdosta, according to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority online deed records, Price purchased a home in Lowndes County’s Stone Creek for $242,000 on May 24, 2012. His family reportedly has earlier Valdosta ties.
Price became a director of the Georgia bank after a company he controlled bought a controlling portion of the bank’s stock in 2010.
Price disappeared in mid-June. A rambling confession that investigators believe he wrote indicated that he planned to kill himself.
His family told authorities then they believed he was dead. Investigators offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Price had ties to Florida and Georgia and may travel to Venezuela and Guatemala, according to the FBI. He was last seen aboard a ferry sailing from Key West, Fla., to Fort Myers, according to various media reports.
The U.S. Department of Justice Issued the Following News Release
AUBREY LEE PRICE, 47, originally from Lyons, Georgia, who was indicted in July 2012 by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Georgia on a charge that he defrauded the Montgomery Bank & Trust, Ailey, Georgia, of over $21 million, was arrested today by members of the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department conducting a random vehicle and traffic stop.
According to the allegations in the Indictment against PRICE, in 2010, an investment group controlled by PRICE invested approximately $10 million in the failing Montgomery Bank & Trust (“MB&T”). PRICE was then made a director of MB&T and put in charge of investing the bank’s capital. Over the next eighteen months, PRICE stole, misappropriated and embezzled over $21 million from MB&T. To cover up his fraud, PRICE provided MB&T officials with bogus account statements which falsely indicated the bank’s capital was safely held in an account at a financial services firm.
Before today’s arrest, PRICE was last seen in June 2012, boarding a ferry terminal in Key West, Florida, bound for Fort Myers, Florida. PRICE disappeared after writing a letter to acquaintances and regulators that he had lost a large amount of money, and that he planned to take his own life.The FBI has been actively searching for PRICE since the date of his disappearance. PRICE was arrested by deputies from the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department on Interstate 95 in Brunswick, Georgia, for a vehicle and traffic violation. When deputies learned of PRICE’s true identity, he was taken into custody.
PRICE will make his initial appearance on the federal arrest warrants on January 2, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., at the federal courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.
In the Southern District of Georgia, PRICE is charged with one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. PRICE faces additional charges in New York. U. S. Attorney Edward Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The indictment of PRICE arises out of an ongoing and joint investigation by FDIC-OIG Special Agent John Crawford; Federal Reserve Board OIG Special Agent Amy Whitcomb; and, FBI Special Agent Ed Sutcliff. First Assistant United States Attorney James Durham and Assistant United States Attorney Brian Rafferty are prosecuting the case for the United States.