October 31, 2014
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report
“Through a web of lies and deceit, Aubrey Lee Price conned his elderly investors and a federally insured bank of more than $70 million, and then attempted to further his con and avoid accountability by faking his own death. However, his life on the lam ended with a routine traffic stop. Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those who seek to defraud the investing public and our financial institutions that we will pursue them and bring them to justice,” says United States Attorney Lynch.
“The sentence imposed today reflects the magnitude of Aubrey Lee Price’s fraud,” says United States Attorney Tarver. “Price engaged in a staggering betrayal of trust, leaving his elderly investors practically penniless, and at the same time, contributing to the collapse of a federally insured bank. For his crimes, Price richly deserves the heavy sentence handed down today by the Court.”
Aubrey Lee Price was sentenced in Statesboro federal court to 30 years in federal prison for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that resulted in millions of dollars of losses to dozens of Price’s investors and led to the collapse of a federally insured bank.
According court filings and evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Price embezzled over $21 million in capital from MB&T, and lost much of it by investing in risky equity securities and options. To cover up his fraud, Price provided MB&T officials with bogus account statements and other false documents which falsely indicated the bank’s capital was safely held in an account at a financial services firm, when in truth, most of the money was gone. A further investigation of Price revealed that between June 2009 and June 2012, he also defrauded approximately 115 individual investors who had invested $51 million in two investment funds he managed. Price lost almost all of that money through speculative trading, and to cover up his losses, Price posted fake account statements on a secure website that fraudulently reflected fictitious assets and fabricated investment returns for each investor.
In mid-June 2012, Price sent acquaintances “suicide letters” in which he admitted he had defrauded MB&T Bank and Price’s individual investors, and that he planned to kill himself by throwing himself off a high-speed ferry boat after it left Key West, Florida. As a result of the suicide claim, the United States Coast Guard searched to no avail for Price’s body. Shortly after sending the letters, Price disappeared. After more than a year of searching for Price, he was arrested on December 31, 2013, after he presented a false identification during a routine traffic stop in Brunswick, Georgia.