Report: Plea deal in works for ‘dead’ banker Aubrey Lee Price

Banker accused of taking millions appeared in court after almost one year

A plea deal is reportedly in place in the case of Aubrey Lee Price, the former fugitive bank director who faked his death and was captured New Year’s Eve after 18 months on the lam.

A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Thursday in a Statesboro federal court where he was scheduled for trial on bank fraud charges June 23, according to online federal court records.

The Associated Press reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Rafferty said in court Tuesday that there is “a plea agreement in place” with Price, 47.

An attorney for Price and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Savannah did not immediately return calls for comment.

Price, an investment adviser and preacher, is accused of embezzling more than $21 million from Montgomery Bank & Trust, a small bank in the town of Ailey in south Georgia. Price and a group of investors from his advisory business had pumped $10 million into the bank to save it in late 2010.

Prosecutors said Price took control of the bank’s securities portfolio and diverted money from bank reserves, then lost it in speculative trading and other investments. Price separately is accused in a civil case of misappropriating funds from clients in his investment business.

In June 2012, Price disappeared and the bank failed the following month. In suicide notes sent to his family and associates, Price admitted to misappropriating money and producing false financial statements in frenzied attempts to make back heavy losses.

He was seen boarding a ferry in Key West, Fla., and later declared dead by a Florida court. Price was arrested on Dec. 31 near Brunswick, Ga., following a traffic stop.

In April, prosecutors expanded the indictment against Price from one felony charge of bank fraud to 17.

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