United States Attorney Lynch declared, “Today’s sentence sends a powerful message to those who seek to defraud our financial institutions and deceive the public through fraudulent investment schemes. Although his life ended in a routine traffic accident, Aubrey Lee Price attempted to evade accountability and continue his con by faking his own death and deceiving elderly investors, resulting in losses of over $70 million and defrauding a federally insured bank.”
Attorney Tarver of the United States said, “The sentence handed down by the Court today deserves to be heavy for Price, who engaged in a staggering betrayal of trust by contributing to the federally insured bank’s collapse, leaving elderly investors practically penniless. The imposed sentence today reflects the magnitude of fraud committed by Aubrey Lee Price.”
“The FBI is optimistic that this declaration will offer some comfort to his victims. We appreciate the numerous and diverse law enforcement agencies whose endeavors in the inquiry and capture of Mr. Price facilitated today’s sentencing. It does not rectify the monetary damage inflicted upon his numerous victims, but the conclusion of a lengthy investigation and an extensive and resource-intensive manhunt is marked by today’s sentencing of former banker Aubrey Lee Price,” expressed George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, FBI New York Field Office, alongside J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
It is particularly troubling when insiders in the banking industry engage in activities that violate the public’s trust and impact the soundness and safety of our nation’s banks. The United States Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are pleased to have joined forces to investigate the fraud that led to Price Lee Aubrey’s conviction, as stated by Special Agent Jason T. Moran in the Office of the Inspector General of the FDIC.
Isabel Colon, the Regional Director of the Atlanta Regional Office of the United States Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration, stated, “This case reaffirms the Department of Labor’s commitment to protect workers’ benefits by identifying and criminalizing any activity that jeopardizes the assets of employee benefit theft.”
An investigation into Price revealed that he had fraudulently posted fake account statements on a secure website, fabricating returns on investments and reflecting fictitious assets. He lost almost all of the money, approximately $51 million, through speculative trading in order to cover up his losses. In addition, Price defrauded individual investors, totaling approximately 115 people, between June 2009 and June 2012. Further investigation revealed that Price had falsely indicated that the capital held in a bank account at a financial services firm was safely held, when in reality, most of the money had been embezzled. Officials from MB&T provided false documents and bogus account statements to cover up Price’s fraud. He had invested a significant portion of the embezzled funds, over $21 million, in risky securities and equity options. Evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings confirmed Price’s fraudulent activities, according to court filings and evidence presented.
On December 31, 2013, he was arrested in Brunswick, Georgia after presenting false identification during a routine traffic stop. After searching for Price for more than a year, the United States Coast Guard claimed that his disappearance was the result of suicide, as no body was found. Price admitted to defrauding individual investors and MB&T Bank, and planned to kill himself by throwing himself off a high-speed ferry boat after leaving Key West, Florida. In mid-June 2012, Price sent “suicide letters” to acquaintances.
Price was instructed to surrender a sum of $51 million, which represented the gains from his illegal activities. Furthermore, a hearing for restitution, scheduled to take place by February 1, 2015, will require Price to compensate the victims of his crimes with an undetermined amount. Tarver emphasized that parole does not exist in the federal system. Alongside a 30-year prison sentence, Price was also mandated to serve a five-year period of supervised release. Price has remained in custody since being apprehended on December 31, 2013.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the Glynn County Sheriff’s Department in Florida, as well as the Toombs County Sheriff’s Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia, were thanked for their assistance and cooperation in the price prosecution and investigation. The United States Department of Labor, the United States Coast Guard, the Northern District of Georgia Sheriff’s Department, the Atlanta Regional Office of the SEC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, the SEC, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Southern District Attorney’s Office were also thanked. They credited the FBI in Georgia, under the direction of Assistant Director Venizelos and Special Agent in Charge Johnson, as well as U.S. Attorneys Lynch and Tarver, for leading today’s sentencing investigation.
Shannon C. Jones and Brian Morris from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, along with Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia, acted as legal representatives for the government.
This prosecution was the result of efforts by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.StopFraud.gov.
AUBREY LEE PRICE, who is 48 years old and hails from Valdosta, Georgia, has been engaged in two legal matters. The initial case pertains to the S.D.G.A. And is documented under docket number 612-CR-10, while the second case is associated with the E.D.N.Y. And is documented under docket number 13-CR-058.