Once-declared dead banker takes plea deal in fraud

 By Russ Bynum

Associated Press
 
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — In the past two years, a former Georgia investment adviser has been wanted as a fugitive, declared dead and captured alive.
 
It appears the strange case against Aubrey Lee Price will come to an end Thursday, after prosecutors said they had reached a plea deal over allegations he misspent, embezzled and lost at least $21 million belonging to investors and the Montgomery Bank & Trust.

Price faces 17 federal counts of bank fraud, each punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

“He should be in jail probably for the rest of his life,” said Wendy Cross, an Atlanta food truck owner who invested $380,000 with Price and lost it all. “He’s left me with nothing.”

Price’s lawyer declined to comment on the case and details of the plea agreement haven’t been made public.

Prosecutors said Price faked financial records to cover his tracks before he disappeared in June 2012 and sent letters to family and friends, hinting that he planned to commit suicide.
A Florida judge declared Price dead at his wife’s request six months after he vanished.

He was arrested on New Year’s Eve in coastal Georgia when a deputy pulled him over on Interstate 95 because his truck’s tinted windows were too dark. 

Prosecutors say Price had about 115 investors who put $40 million into his private investment firm, but he lost much of their money between 2009 and 2010. 

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