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$20,000 reward for missing Ga. banker

9:29 AM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
Aubrey Lee Price
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  • AILEY, Ga. -- The heat is being turned up on a Georgia banker accused of embezzling $17 million in bank funds and implicated in stealing millions from investors.

    On July 2, 2012 the FBI filed charges against Aubrey Lee Price in the Eastern District of New York. According to a criminal complaint he is charged with wire fraud.

    Aubrey disappeared after telling acquaintances that he had lost a large amount of money through trading activities and that he planned to kill himself, according to the complaint.

    Price became director of Montgomery Bank and Trust in southern Georgia after a company he controlled bought a controlling interest in the bank's stock. In December 2011 Price took control of investing the bank's capital.

    The complaint alleges that instead of investing the money as promised, Price fraudulently wired the bank's funds to accounts he personally controlled at other financial institutions.

    On Friday, July 6, 2012, Montgomery Bank and Trust was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Financing.

    Price disappeared in June after writing friends and associates a 22 page letter essentially saying he blew away all of their money. In at least one of the letters "Price stated that he had lost a large sum of money through his trading activities," according to the complaint.

    "Price also indicated that he planned to commit suicide," it said. Price told others that he planned to kill himself off the coast of Florida by jumping off a ferry boat. Despite a recent search by the Coast Guard, Price's body has not been recovered, the complaint reads.

    "We tracked him to Key West, Fla. where he boarded a vessel supposedly headed to Fort Myers and that's the last known location that he was headed to," said Lowndes County Sheriff Office Detective Aaron Pritchett.

    RELATED | Search on for missing Ga. banker

    Federal authorities told 11Alive News they believe Price may have used the suicide note to throw off the search for him. Price has told friends he owns real estate in Venezuela and that he frequently travels there and to Guatemala.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Price for defrauding investors in another company of his called PFG LLC. More than 100 people claim potential losses of $40 million.

    Attorney Robert Port, of Cohen Goldstein Port & Gottlieb, said he and another law firm are in contact with about a dozen Atlanta residents who have invested with Price. He said most of them lost all of their retirement funds because of Price's investments.

    You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson

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