After a year-and-a-half on the run and an attempt to fake his own death, a Georgia banker who allegedly embezzled millions and defrauded investors was captured Tuesday, authorities said.
Aubrey “Lee” Price, 47, stands accused of embezzling millions of investor dollars. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on wire fraud and securities fraud charges earlier this year and faces decades in prison if convicted.
Beginning in 2009, according to a complaint filed in federal court in July 2012, Price bought a controlling portion of an ailing bank in Ailey, Ga., and raised $40 million from about 115 investors primarily in Georgia and Florida. Instead of investing that capital, prosecutors allege, Price moved the money into personal accounts and produced forged documents to cover up the embezzlement.
By the time charges were brought against him, Price had been missing for several weeks. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Price penned a letter to acquaintances in mid-June 2012 admitting he had lost a large sum of investor money and “planned to kill himself by jumping from a ferry boat in Florida.” Before Tuesday’s arrest, Price was last seen alive boarding a Ferry Terminal in Key West, WJCL News in Savannah reports.
The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Price’s arrest and launched an international manhunt spanning from the U.S. to Guatemala and Venezuela, where Price was known to travel on missionary work, as well as the waters in between, where authorities thought he might be at sea on his 17-foot boat.
In the end, Price was arrested closer to home by Georgia police during a routine traffic stop, WJCL reports.
He’s set to make his initial appearance in federal court in Brunswick, Ga. on Thursday.