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Former Georgia Banker Charged with Stealing Millions Pleads Not Guilty

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UPDATE:

An attorney representing Aubrey Lee Price entered a not guilty plea this morning. Price is charged with bank fraud for allegedly embezzling 21 million dollars from a bank in Ailey, Georgia. He faked his death in 2012 and was arrested last week after a traffic stop in Brunswick. The man who allegedly took millions more from investors has told the court he has no money for an attorney and one has been appointed for him.

A family friend, Dustin Tapley who is a lawyer appeared on Price's behalf last week in court saying Price's father had called him. Tapley however says he cannot continue to be lead counsel. Tapley did tell reporters that he had known Price much of his life and that the facts in this case will ultimately be "much different than what has been reported in the news."

Meanwhile, several investors who say they lost tens of thousands in Price's private investment company were in court. Jimmy Newsome says his daughter in law in Atlanta lost much of her life savings. Newsome said if he could ask Price just one question it would be "where is the money?"

Newsome told reporters he could not imagine anyone who would "do this to other people."  He says Price should receive the maximum sentence allowed under the law."

 


A former Georgia banker on the run since 2012 appeared in federal court today in Brunswick. 47 year old Aubrey Lee Price is accused of stealing 21 million dollars.  Price was arrested Tuesday during a routine traffic stop on I-95.

 

Price left associates a suicide note more than a year ago after he was indicted in federal court on bank fraud charges.

Officials say Price told acquaintances in 2012 that he had lost a lot of money in trading activities and planned to kill himself by jumping off a ferry. He was last seen June 16, 2012, in Key West, Florida boarding a ferry bound for Fort Myers.

A Georgia judge later declared Price dead. But the FBI continued its search.

A federal grand jury in Savannah indicted Price in July of 2012 on charges that he defrauded the Montgomery Bank & Trust of Ailey, Georgia. Bank branches in Vidalia were also affected.

The indictment says that in 2010 Price controlled a group that invested about $10 million in the failing bank and that he was later made a director and put in charge of investing the bank's capital. But court papers say for more than one year - from the early part of 2011 through June of 2012 that Price allegedly misappropriated and embezzled about $21 million from the bank and covered his tracks by providing fake account statements that said the money was being safely held at a large financial services firm.

An indictment returned in New York says Price committed fraud through accounts he set up in Florida. The SEC seized real estate owned by Price as part of that case.

If convicted on the bank fraud charge in Georgia, Price faces a maximum 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Price will appear for formal arraignment on the charges Monday in federal court in Savannah.

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