Aubrey Lee Price has been reported as a missing person to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
By J. Scott Trubey
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A missing South Georgia investment adviser, accused earlier this week of bilking clients for tens of millions of dollars, is wanted by the FBI related to an alleged fraud against the south Georgia bank he helped avert failure.
The request for an arrest warrant accuses Aubrey Lee Price, 46, of wire fraud involving at least $17 million. Price remains missing, though in a letter sent to friends and family last month, he suggested he was so distraught about soured investments he was going to commit suicide.
In late 2010, some of Price's investors put at least $10 million into Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, Ga., 170 miles southeast of Atlanta. Price became a director at the bank.
Locals pitched in an additional $4 million, in a combined investment that helped rescue the bank from the brink of failure.
On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a federal court order to freeze Price's assets and those of several related companies, accusing him in an investment scheme totaling about $40 million.
The FBI request for an arrest warrant said Price had also been in charge of investments at the Ailey bank.
After telling upper management that he was investing in U.S. Treasury securities, he wired bank funds to accounts he controlled and prepared falsified statements to cover his tracks, the complaint said.
The banker has been missing at least since June 16.
Investigators say Price was last seen boarding a ferry in Key West, Fla., bound for Fort Myers, Fla. He had "previously stated that he owns real estate in Venezuela" and "may own a boat that would be large enough to travel to Venezuela from Florida," the complaint says.
One published report previously said a suicide note was found on the ferry. On Thursday, however, Toombs County Sheriff Junior Kight told Southeast Georgia Today there wasn't a note on the vessel, and that a copy of a note was provided to the Coast Guard by Price's family.
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, recently likened people with pre-existing medical conditions to wrecked cars and appeared to suggest that the sick are at fault for their illnesses just as drivers are at fault for their accidents.
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