Aubrey Lee Price was a former Georgia investment adviser who went missing in 2012 after duping investors out of millions of dollars in a private-placement fraud scheme. Price was later presumed dead when authorities discovered an apparent suicide note detailing the fraud.
Now, it appears Price is back from the dead. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reported on its Web site last week that Price had been captured and charged with securities and wire fraud.
In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) froze the assets of Price, alleging that he had raised about $40 million from hundreds of investors by selling shares in an unregistered investment fund (PFG) that he managed. Price purported to invest fund assets in traditional marketable securities, but he also made illiquid investments in South America real estate and a troubled South Georgia bank. In order to conceal the mounting losses of investor funds, Price created bogus account statements with false account balances and returns that were provided to investors and bank regulators.
As reported today by Investment News, Price pleaded not guilty last Wednesday to federal bank fraud charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia before consenting to be held in custody while the case proceeds.
If convicted, Price faces a possible penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. If that happens, it would be justice for victims like Rick Smith. Smith, 63, retired early from Lockheed Martin in 2007 on Price’s advice. Now, however, Smith and his wife have gotten part-time jobs and been forced to sell a boat and RV in order to compensate for the losses they incurred by investing with Price.
“It helps a whole lot just knowing where he is,” Smith said in a Jan. 6 story by the Globe and Mail. “Maybe he’ll pay for what he did.”