Captured Georgia banker faces judge

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 1:30 p.m. CDT

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Aubrey Lee Price, the South Georgia bank director accused of defrauding his clients and faking his death, made his first appearance before a judge Thursday, about 48 hours after a simple traffic stop ended his 18 months on the run.

Price, 47, was formally notified of charges against him, and a U.S. Magistrate Judge James Graham ordered a bond hearing for Monday in Savannah.

Price was indicted in July 2012 on charges of embezzling $21 million from Montgomery Bank & Trust, a small bank in tiny Ailey, Ga. MB&T was a bank Price and his investor clients came to save but which later failed after his alleged fraud was uncovered. He also was accused of bilking investors served by his money management business of many millions more.

Price also faces federal wire fraud charges in New York as well as civil lawsuits from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and clients who say they were jilted.

Price disappeared in June 2012, grabbing national headlines. He is believed to have drafted a rambling suicide note in which he admitted to defrauding investor clients and his bank. He was last seen boarding a ferry in Key West, Fla., where Price hinted he planned to take his life.

Price was arrested Tuesday morning in Brunswick following a traffic stop. Glynn County Sheriff E. Neal Jump told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that deputies pulled over a 2001 Dodge on suspicion that its windows were too darkly tinted. Deputies arrested the driver, later identified as Price after finding fake IDs in the vehicle.

Little is yet known about his life as a fugitive. A federal probation officer told the judge Price said he was homeless and lived as a migrant worker accepting cash for odd jobs.

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