FBI Successfully Prosecutes Fraudster Who Faked His Death in Florida
This December, the federal government convicted fraudster Aubrey Lee Price to 30 years in prison for embezzlement, bank fraud and other crimes. Price became famous when in 2012 he faked in his own death in Key West, Florida after he gained knowledge that the FBI was closing in on a Ponzi scheme that he had perpetrated through his financial advisory business. Before the revealing of his Ponzi scheme, Price was known as a devout Christian minister who used the trust of his community to invest his customers’ life savings. After he faked his death, 18 months later Price was discovered alive during a routine traffic stop on New Year’s Eve in Georgia.
Who Was Aubrey Lee Price?
Price worked as an investment adviser at his company PFG, where he invested the money of his clients and friends. In 2009, Price began to gamble with client money by making risky investments. That next year, Price convinced 40 of his clients to provide investments in a Georgia bank that was facing financial difficulties. In fact, $10 million was raised from PFG clients, and an additional $4 million was raised from both bank employees and other area residents. At the time Price was hailed as a savior for helping to keep a local community bank afloat. However, in 2011 Price determined that the bank could not overcome its financial difficulties and that his investors could soon lose “a lot of money.” In order to deal with the bank issues, Price convinced the bank’s officials to utilize the institution’s funds for investments in U.S. securities and was also allowed to wire $5 million into an account that Price held out to be at a well-respected global investment firm.
The Fraud is Unveiled
The reality is that there was no account and Price was actually committing bank fraud and embezzlement. Eventually Price received access to over $21 million and lost over $16 million in risky investments by simple telling the bank that the money he was receiving would be used to purchase securities and other investments. By the time that Price faked his death in 2012, the bank had failed and losses to investors totaled over $70 million. Before faking his own death Price sent a suicide letter to his family and clients within in which he admitted to his fraud and embezzlement, and stated his plans to throw himself into the Key West, Florida waters. After months of searching for the body without finding anything, the FBI continued its search, convinced that he was still alive. During this time frame when Price was believed to be dead, he fled first to Mexico, and then back to Florida, where he engaged in additional criminal endeavors such as drug dealing and prostitution. He was finally arrested in Brunswick, Georgia and it was discovered that he had in his possession handguns, cellphones and the equipment required to make fake identification cards.
Price’s story is a complicated one that involved his evolution from a preacher, to an investment adviser, to fraudster and to a subsequent drug dealer. The sad thing is that many of his clients lost their entire savings that they spent over 30 years accumulating. If you need criminal defense representation in bank fraud, embezzlement or any other suit, contact criminal law attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in South Florida today. We are prepared to help you in any way that we can.