Embezzling banker who faked suicide and changed name pleads guilty to fraud

Aubrey Lee Price avoided authorities for 18 months before his New Year's Eve capture.
By Matt Bradwell  |  Updated June 5, 2014 at 2:45 PM
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STATESBORO, Ga., June 5 (UPI) -- A Georgia banker who faked his own death after it came out he embezzled over $20 million in 2010 pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges Thursday.

Aubrey Lee Price will face up to 30 years in prison and pay a restitution of up to $51 million for one count each of securities, wire and bank fraud.

While an employee for Montgomery Bank & Trust, a small bank about 170 miles south of Atlanta, Price embezzled more than $21 million of the bank's money after he was given control of the bank's reserves.

"I genuinely and humbly accept responsibility for my unlawful behavior and criminal conduct. I betrayed and lost the confidence of my fellow man," Price told the judge, according to court reports.

In June 2012, a month before the bank finally failed, Price mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind "suicide" notes, in which he admitted to misappropriating money and falsifying financial statements. He was last seen boarding a ferry in Key West, and later declared dead.

Rather than kill himself, Price dramatically altered his appearance and went into hiding under the name "Jason." The former small-town banker took to experimenting with cocaine, methamphetamines and prescription drugs, and started a sizable marijuana green house in residence he was pretending to fix.

Price was finally arrested during a traffic stop on New Year's Eve 2013 near Brunswick, Ga.

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