Last month Georgia banker Aubrey “Lee” Price, 46, went missing and now federal authorities are on a manhunt to find the banker and the $17 million he embezzled from Montgomery Bank & Trust.
Price was being heralded as a hero when in late 2010 his company purchased a controlling interest in the troubled bank and promised to invest its capital into various money-making ventures. Instead Price setup a shell corporation in New York City and used that company to hide wire transfers and other illegal activities including fraudulent investments over a two-year period.
Located 170 miles from Atlanta the bank which has been open for nearly 90 years was forced to close its doors forever on Friday. The FDIC which was named as the receiver said Ameris Bank in Moultri, Georgia would take over the banks accounts and its two branches.
Two weeks ago Price told various friends he had lost “a large sum of money through his trading activities” and then he disappeared.
In an official complaint a letter that surfaced after his disappearance Price allegedly told his friends in June he planned to commit suicide by “jumping off a ferry boat” in Florida.
The FBI isn’t buying the planned suicide attempt story, noting that Aubrey Price owns property in both Venezuela and Guatemala. FBI Special Agent Michael Howard notes that the embezzler “may own a boat that would be large enough to travel to Venezuela from Florida.
The U.S. Coast Guard has been searching for Price but have turned up nothing at this time. Airline records show that Price was in the United States as of June 2 after he returned stateside from a trip to Venezuela.
A prison sentence for Aubrey Price could mean up to 30 years behind bars.