A former Georgia banker accused of stealing millions of dollars from investors has been caught two years after he faked a suicide in order to go on the run.
47-year old Aubrey Lee Price was the former director of Montgomery Bank & Trust and is accused of wire fraud, among other charges; in 2012, investigators found, he raised around $40 million from investors and stole away with $17 million of it, leaving a note for those closest to him saying it would be better for him to "exit this world" by jumping off a boat. When security camera footage captured him boarding said boat, a judge declared him dead. The letter Price left for his family was full of admissions:
"My depression and discouragement have driven me to deep anxiety, fear and shame. I am emotionally overwhelmed and incapable of continuing in this life," Price wrote. "I created false statements, covered up my losses and deceived and hurt the very people I was trying to help."
Although credit card records showed Price bought dive weights and a ticket for a ferry, investigators didn't believe for a moment that he was actually dead, and he's been a wanted man all this time. When police in Brunswick, Georgia pulled him over on New Year's Eve for illegally tinted windows, they soon realized who they had. Price had altered his appearance greatly since he was last seen, but that didn't stop him from getting caught. He is now being held for federal authorities. It's not known what penalties Price faces, or whether any of his victims will see a return of their money.
"I don't believe he's dead. I believe he planned for this exit," said Wendy Cross, an Atlanta resident who says she lost her $364,000 nest egg by investing with Price, in 2012.
Image via Lowndes County Sheriff