Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 26, 2013

Missing bank director indicted

Despite being declared dead, Valdostan accused of securities, wire fraud

SAVANNAH — A south Georgia bank director accused of losing millions of investors’ dollars before he vanished last summer was indicted on federal fraud charges Friday.

However, it’s unclear whether Aubrey Lee Price of Valdosta will ever face any charges in court. He went missing June 16 and a Florida judge recently declared him dead, although the FBI doesn’t buy his statements in a written confession and letters to his family last year that he planned to drown himself off the Florida coast.

Security camera footage later showed Price at a ferry terminal in Key West.  

The indictment in U.S. District Court of Eastern New York charges Price with securities and wire fraud, alleging he faked account statements to cover up big losses from investments he made in equity securities, options and real estate. It’s the second criminal prosecution pending against Price, who had served as a director of Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, Ga. He was also charged with bank fraud last year in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Prosecutors say Price raised $40 million from his bank and 115 investors, and lost much of the money.  Melanie Damian, the lawyer appointed to recover Price’s assets and help investors recoup some of their losses, said it’s still unknown exactly how much of their money he lost.

On Dec. 31, a circuit court judge in Florida agreed to order a presumptive death certificate for Price at the request of his wife, Rebeka. Her attorney, John Holt, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday evening.

Judge Greg S. Parker ruled that the evidence left a reasonable conclusion “that Aubrey Lee Price took his own life at sea.”

Authorities are still hunting for Price and are skeptical of his suicide story, considering how often he lied to investors and his own bank, said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI’s New York office.

“It is therefore reasonable to assume that Price’s talk of suicide was also a lie,” Venizelos said. “The FBI is actively looking for Aubrey Lee Price.”

Authorities have said they believe Price slipped away with up to $17 million of investors’ money. In his rambling confession letter, Price denied stealing any of his clients’ money, saying he lost it all through bad investments.

“I created false statements, covered up my losses and deceived and hurt the very people I was trying to help,” the letter said.

Damian, the receiver appointed to track down Price’s assets, said Friday that more than $400,000 has been recovered.  She said Price owned more than $2 million in property and she hopes investors will ultimately recoup more than that.  

As long as Price remains missing, Damian said, she doesn’t expect the criminal prosecution would necessarily help with repayment of Price’s investors.

“I’m sure if he was in custody people would want to see him pay the price for what he did,” Damian said. “For the victims, we just need to try to recover as much as possible.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results